I don't know whether or not to blame myself about this, but right now, there are a lot of failing students in my classes. I'm just student teaching with 10th grade English and began at the beginning of fourth quarter about three weeks ago. Already about 60% of the students are geting F's for a variety of reasons which I'll explain. After being in the school from the beginning of the Spring semester, it really seems that my cooperating teacher's English course is on the bottom of the totem pole in regards to important courses the students care about passing. I have no idea why. Maybe it's because they think they can pass even if they don't do their work, since I saw last quarter how my cooperating teacher gave students full credit the day before we went on break for work that was way past the due date as long as they could show it to him. One thing I kept consistent with my cooperating teacher's curriculum was to have students do a reflection every week equivalent to one quiz grade. We do random folder checks at the beginning of certain weeks to see whether or not the students did them, and most times they don't despite being given class time to work on them, several reminders on the board and on my CT's web page, and having the weekend to finish it. This is practically the only homework they ever get because they aren't allowed to take home the textbooks since apparently someone stole one at the beginning of the school year. There are weekly quizzes and because some students are absent on the day they're given, they don't receive credit for them. We allow students to come in and make up their quizzes if they missed them, but very few students actually follow through with that and that really hurts their grade. Even if they received a 50% on the quiz, it would still boost them up to a C or D as long as they do their reflections. Today was supposed to be dedicated to presentations and the turnout was quite pathetic, and that's saying it nicely. I received all kinds of excuses, like how they didn't know about it, how they didn't understand what they were supposed to do, and was even told straight-up that they didn't care about the assignment due to priorities like their part-time job or projects for other courses. I had a number of students asking how they could make it up and I told them that they could do an alternate assignment but not receive full credit for it. Many of them decided to take the zero instead. They had four days (including the weekend) to work on the presentation, which included writing a one page paper about why they chose a song that would be considered the theme of a character in the novel we are reading and an oral presentation in which they'd present the song. Though I told the students that if they did not write a paper, they could not present. As a result, maybe 30% of the students made their presentations while the rest failed right off the bat. So now I'm wondering if I'm the one at fault here. My cooperating teacher told me not to worry about it because it's the students' choice whether or not they want to do the work because it is their grade in the end, but I'm concerned because when I do go out and have my own classroom, I fear that this may repeat and I'll have a lot of failing students, which definitely would not reflect well in the eyes of my future administration. When I was a student and didn't do well in a class, I always thought that if everyone else was failing, the teacher must not be a very good one. I know that I'm in the beginning phase of my teaching career, but I'm just wondering if other people think that I'm the one who should be blamed for the tremendous amount of low grades or if it's just the students' fault for being so lazy and unmotivated?