Pathetic Sophomore Class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 13, 2016

    I have sophomores for advisory, and they went to an assembly yesterday about improving the graduation rates. During the assembly the kids broke out in cheers and applause when the VP shared their low graduation rates, and high numbers of referrals.

    I thought the whole display was pathetic that they were proud of how they basically don't care about their lives or success. I discussed it with my advisory students and they were not remorseful at all, and said that they thought it was hilarious and how other teachers probably thought it was hilarious too. It seems to me that many of them hate the school and staff here. My 8th graders would at least think seriously about their success and future plans. What could be done about the terrible atmosphere here among the sophomore class?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 13, 2016

    There is a reason they are called "wise fools". What a shame you couldn't have recorded their actions and shown them to their (hopefully mortified) parents.
     
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  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 13, 2016

    Also I was the ONLY teacher during the assembly actually getting students to behave. I moved around and asked students to stop their conversations as the VP talked or put away food or cell phones. The other teachers just stood at the back and watched me do this while the kids all misbehaved right in front of them (like literally the row right in front of them) and they would just ignore it. I eventually gave up because I was the only one doing it. I almost wonder if most of the problems this school has is due to the overall teaching attitude of the staff. There seems to be equal parts incompetence (PBIS, ridiculous admin/district mandates) and apathy fueling the atmosphere at the school.
     
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  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sep 13, 2016

    This sounds most likely.

    I mean, high schoolers are going to be like that to some extent...but the extent that you describe certainly sounds like it's a culture that's been allowed to fester (not by you, but by the school in general) over the years. So sad :( Glad you're doing what you can, though! Hopefully it'll turn around.
     
  6. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Sep 13, 2016

    In my opinion, this is an issue of school culture - from the admin down to support staff. I work in a school where most students are at poverty level and many of their circle are in gangs or other dire circumstances. We have worked diligently over the past 6 years to develop a college-going culture and an atmosphere where the students trust that we have their best interest in mind. If the students at your school generally "hate" the staff and think it's funny that high fail rates are a joke, I'd say that it is not a reflection on the students - it reflects how they view school and the staff. So, I would suggest that your school create a leadership team whose goal is to reshape school culture.
     
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  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Sep 13, 2016

    Why would the school have such an assembly? Wouldn't the time be better spent on actually doing something about low performance? Then again, some administrators like big and showy. It gives the illusion something is being done about learning. And like in the classroom students will adjust their behavior to whatever is allowed. You are exactly correct in your assessment of school climate. Keep disciplining your students no matter the venue. They like other students are measuring your consistency, whether you only discipline when you feel like it, and whether you can be chased away by a little indecision.
     
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  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Sep 14, 2016

    That is a shame that you are in this situation. I also think it's a shame that the admin would focus on the negative in a rally like that. Of course the kids are going to pretend to cheer and not care when confronted with their failures publicly. Public shaming, in my opinion, is not the best way to win over teenagers. Instead, focus on what they are doing well, and encourage that energy to carry over into academics. What are your students good at? Do you have strong athletes? Artists? Musicians? Why not hold a rally to celebrate their successes and to encourage academic success, as well?
     
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  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I tend to agree. I have worked in two schools with identical demographics but very different school cultures. I have noticed that the expectations and behaviors of the administration, faculty, and staff at the two schools are very different.
     
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  10. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2016

    Yikes, I'm sorry to hear this is the culture of your school. Keep keepin' on. Not ALL of the students think this way, and some of them who may act pathetically may be doing it just to fit in. I know it's hard, but don't forget that you are making an impact on those kids by being the teacher who is holding them to higher standards--even if you never find out you are making an impact. You are a great teacher, Peregrin.
     
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  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 23, 2016

    Thanks linswin! :)
     
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  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I agree with the poster who said that the cheer about the low graduation rate came from the negative situation. What were they supposed to do? Hang their heads and cry and be sad?? These are teenagers, and we all know they do some illogical things when they're trying to save face.

    Sophomores can be difficult when it comes to academics. Some freshmen don't do well, because they don't get the difference between middle school and high school and some do really great. By the time they get to 10th grade, they relax, and think they're all that. They're also still quite immature, so their attitude can be very sucky.
    Keep holding them accountable, keep establishing relationships with them, and keep teaching and doing your thing. They might hate every teacher and the school, but they don't have to hate you. It takes some time, so give it time.
     

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