Serious Apathy

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Furthuron, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Furthuron

    Furthuron Companion

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    Jan 13, 2014

    I am just back from maternity leave after being gone most of the first semester, and my 7th and 8th graders are probably the most apathetic bunch I have ever worked with. One class is absolutely silent whenever I pose a question (even a non-thinker like, "How many people were born in 2000?"). And if I ever call on anyone, the most I get is a shrug, and maybe an "I don't know" if I'm lucky to receive a verbal response.

    I teach by following the "Right is Right" mantra, so I don't let them off the hook until they give me an answer, but man is it exhausting! Even just having them respond after I say "Good morning" is a task. Every single period. Every single day.

    Any tips on working with students in this situation? The lack of sleep as my baby has now decided to wake up 5-6 times a night does not help.

    Edit: I should add that I teach English, Support English, and ELD, so the majority of my students are low-skilled or English learners. I have taught these subjects before without this issue, but I know ELD kids can often tend to be on the quieter side.
     
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  3. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Jan 13, 2014

    Do you give them verbal sentence frames? The fact that you teach support and ELD makes me wonder if they're partially nervous to speak up. Also, if they're lower level, the task might be more daunting, so combined with laziness/apathy, they just give up?
    I've had a lot of success with sharing sentence frames in the past with similar populations, maybe give it a try if you're not already?
     
  4. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    Jan 14, 2014

    Sounds like my first period. The same students who are so passive in my first period are a chatty bunch later in the day so I chalk it up to the morning blues. Your problem might be stemming from a boring routine set forth by your long term sub. They're just going through the motion.

    Instead of having them respond to you, how about doing some smaller group check for understanding activity? You know, like "turn to your neighbors and tell them how many people do you think we're born in 2000!"
     
  5. Furthuron

    Furthuron Companion

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    Jan 15, 2014

    We do use sentence frames as part of our English 3D curriculum, but I like the idea of TPS. The funny thing is, my ELD class was super chatty for the sub, but we had a lot of kids move into Support, so now it's only nine students.

    Thanks for the ideas!
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 15, 2014

    I had a 5th grade class like that once and I agree that it is really draining. I need the feedback to keep going! It was a small group and they were good kids, just lacking in enthusiasm. It was a long year.
     

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