Students dropping your class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by GGarcia, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. GGarcia

    GGarcia Rookie

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    Aug 30, 2013

    It's my first year and I am enjoying it so far. I teach an elective and try to make it fun. However, I have had quite a few students drop my class. I try not to take it personally since I know some of it is due to scheduling conflicts. At the same time, I know that maybe some of it is due to the fact they either didn't like me or my class. It just makes me sad, because I have been trying so hard to build up my enrollment. I lost a few more today and my class is getting really small. What can I do to keep my students? I already make the class easy, so it's not like they have had tons of homework.
     
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  3. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    What is the subject area?
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Tell us about your class-- what kind of kids are enrolled, what you teach, how old they are. What sort of stuff have you been covering?

    Have you considered going to Guidance and asking why kids seem to be dropping? I don't know the procedure-- in my school, you can't drop a course-- but I imagine they have to give some sort of a reason, don't they?
     
  5. GGarcia

    GGarcia Rookie

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    I teach Spanish in a small high school. Foreign language is not required to graduate. Students can drop if they need another class and it is only offered that period or they can drop just because they want to. I have given only 1 homework assignment in 2 weeks so it has not been difficult. We do fun stuff like singing the days of the week and learning colors and numbers. Basic stuff that I try very hard to make fun. I do call on students to participate or do an exercise, but it is just easy stuff we have been working on. I try not to embarrass them. The drop deadline was today. I guess art or auto mechanics sounds more fun to them. However, I still take it personally.
     
  6. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Aug 30, 2013

    You say you aren't giving a lot of work... Could this be the cause? Are the students who are dropping those who want to feel challenged?
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Of course you take it personally, you're only human.

    OK, now for better or worse, you've got your class list for the year. I agree with the previous poster.. consider giving your class a bit more umph. Is it possible that your high school kids are probably bored-- and possibly a bit insulted-- with singing songs and easy vocab??
     
  8. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    Last year, I also taught a foreign language at the high school level and had an exodus of students from my grade 10 class after the first week. Most of the ones who dropped did so because they thought Art would be an easier course. Granted, the students I was left with were all very hardworking and motivated students but it was still quite upsetting to me. If I were to do it over again, I may have made a more concerted effort to " take it easy" the first couple of days as to not frighten students off... But ultimately I could not sacrifice the integrity of the course, which was an advanced foreign language class supposed to be taught almost exclusively in the target language.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 30, 2013

    This was my thought as well.
     
  10. GGarcia

    GGarcia Rookie

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    Yes, of course it's possible and I will try and push them more. However, we have done quite a lot in 2 weeks. I have only taught one song for days of the week. We have also done numbers to 20, basic greetings and expressions and nationalities. I don't think I could go much faster and I have run out of ways to make it more engaging. I have been trying so hard to make the class engaging I honestly don't know if I could do anymore. I just received a copy of "Teach Like a Pirate," so I hope it will give me more insight. Suggestions are always welcome. Thank you for taking the time to reply.
     
  11. GGarcia

    GGarcia Rookie

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    I don't know about most of the students who are dropping. Some of them come and tell me they are sad to switch, but they need a class for graduation. The others just disappear and I never see them again. I do know that the students that have dropped don't seem like the type that want to be challenged, but I really encouraged them to participate. Many of them do not have friends in the class and I think that may be a reason they drop, I'm not sure. The counselors are too busy to ask at this point and I don't know if I would get an honest answer.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You know what? At this point, it doesn't matter.

    What does matter is that you build a reputation. Ensure that these kids not only learn, but enjoy doing so. That reputation will carry over to next year's kids, and the problem of kids opting out (as opposed to those who needed a schedule change) will disappear.

    One of the Spanish teachers today was talking about a video she saw over the weekend on Castles in Spain. (I want to say History Channel, but I could be wrong.) Could you incorportate lots of culture?

    Again, please forgive my ignorance, but I know that the time around Halloween is a big deal in some Latin American cultures-- Noche del Muerte or something similar?? Could you start to talk about it with your kids, and get ideas on how you'll celebrate it? Can you find a way to incorporate food into some of your lessons? How about travel-- could you assign each of them a destination and have them make up a travel brochure?
     
  13. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Aug 30, 2013

    I'm really big on helping the students take ownership of a class. Why not ask the students for feedback during a 10ish minute discussion at the end of class? Not specifically about why other students are dropping, but what they'd like to see in the course in the future, what they feel is the most interesting, what helps them learn the best so far, etc. I've done this when teaching middle school aged students in summer classes. After reviewing what kind of comments are constructive (rather than just I hate X or I like Y), I just let the kids know that this is the first time the class is being run and I'd like to get their feedback so that I can know how to improve the class for the next group of students. In your case, it would be for the same group. I write down their ideas and comments on the board. They love feeling like they're being listened to, and I've never had a group that couldn't get a good, honest, and constructive discussion going. For the inevitable students who still end up saying, for example "I like the songs" rather than providing more depth, I push them to tell me why they like the songs or why they find them helpful. If they're shy starting out, I provide them with a couple of my own honest opinions to get the ball rolling. For example, "I liked our lesson on XYZ because it seemed to really get you guys talking about the concept, but I felt like we should have spent a little more time on ABC and because we moved too quickly." If there's something they don't like but you know is necessary, it's a good time to explain why it's important and how it will help them. You might be surprised at some of the responses you get!

    If you don't feel comfortable having an open discussion, providing them with a couple of options that they can discuss and then vote on might have a similar kind of impact. For example, if you have time to study one cultural topic, you can let them choose between two, like a holiday or a type of music/dance or something.
     
  14. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I just switched from teaching required courses to all electives. I have more Jr/Sr than the few Fresh/Soph.

    I don't take it personally, its a matter of realizing that some of the students, especially seniors need to get in specific classes. Some students want to take science and math because of their potential college major and others just don't like the topics of my classes. It's okay. Just think that if you did have students in there that didn't want to be..it wouldn't be as good as a class because they may cause you grief and keep you from teaching those that are interested.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 2, 2013

    I will say that a language class wasn't required for my graduation either, but I enrolled in French I. What. A. Joke. We started to learn the alphabet and a few greetings, but that is the extent of it. He did have a food event of some sort, which was enjoyable...but I never had the opportunity to learn the language. Just make sure your students are getting what they signed up for.

    You obviously care. You'll get there. :)
     

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