Whiny students bug the crap out of me.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Caesar753, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2008

    So we're rounding out the end of the second quarter and first semester. This is the time of the year when students freak out because their grades are lower than they expect. I'm totally sick and tired of them getting upset with me when they're unhappy with their grades. Please allow me to vent a little. :whistle:

    All students are given an activation code and are required to set up an online account where they can view their grade reports, download missing work, see how many absences they have, etc. I post grades online at least weekly, although I often upload new grades every other day. As long as they check their account, they know what's up with their grade. Oh, and I post a hard copy of their grades in the classroom.

    Many students whine about not having access to a computer. The thing is, when I ask them how many of them could check their Myspace accounts by the end of the day today if they needed to, they all tell me that they can. There are some serious problems with prioritizing here, from what I can see.

    I do not appreciate students coming to me literally at the last minute on the last day of the quarter and asking me how they can get their grades up. "Um... come talk to me a month ago." It's not like they didn't have full access to their grades from day one.

    Today a student athlete came to me at 2:35 (my contract ends at 2:41) wanting to know how to bring her 57% up to passing. I told her that she couldn't, and I explained why. I explained that she failed to attend class on a regular basis, failed to participate in class when she was present, failed to turn in numerous assignments, and failed to talk to me about the issue in a timely manner. The result is that she is earning an F for 2nd quarter, and she is ineligible to play sports. She's very upset with me about this. What exactly am I supposed to do about it? I wasn't the one who prevented her from coming to class, or from completing her homework, or from paying attention, or from meeting with the teacher before it was, oh, 6 minutes before the end of the quarter. Yes, I realize that she's only 3 percentage points away from passing... It's really unfortunate that she didn't turn in one of the like twelve assignments she's missing, because that would have probably brought her grade up to passing.

    On to round two. In our district, when a student receives more than 6 unexcused absences in a single class, they receive a Denial of Credit. This basically states that they won't earn credit for the class and an F will show up on their transcript. Well, today a student was super irritated with me when he found out that he earned a Denial of Credit in my class for having 7 unexcused absences. He was at his desk whining and complaining about me to anyone who would listen, like I couldn't hear him. I called him to my desk and very sternly informed him that he has no business blaming this unfortunate situation on me because I was not the one who made him absent or who forced him to ditch my class. I told him in no uncertain terms that the person he should be upset with is himself, and that I will not tolerate continued negativity in my classroom. I was M E A N, and I don't usually get that way.

    UGH! :(

    I'm just so over it. I don't care if they choose to fail, but they will not blame me for their failures. I will take accountability for everything that I do or don't do as a teacher, but I refuse to be held accountable for their irresponsibility.
     
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  3. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Jan 12, 2008

    Sure they WILL blame you. Why should THEY take responsibility? And what is even worse is when the parents jump on their bandwagon and blame you. GRRRRR!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2008

    It's the nature of the beast.

    Some of them have never had a single consequence for any action in their lives before. Some have parents who are so anxious to make their lives easy and fun that no consequence actually happens-- lots and lots of empty threats. So they're kind of stunned when someone does as they've promised to do.

    Don't let them make you crazy. Accept that this is how some kids are, and that they're actually learning something (although apparently not Latin) in your class.

    Somewhere down the road-- far down the road-- they'll thank you. But just do as you have done: keep it objective. Don't talk about things like "attitude" that are subjective. Keep it in terms of grades, classes missed, assignments not turned in. It's a whole lot harder for a parent (or even, gulp, a coach) to argue those things.
     
  5. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jan 12, 2008

    Cassie~I had 25 students fail the 2nd six weeks this year because they did not turn in a major project and/or a major essay. I sent out reminder emails to parents at least a week before the due dates. That had no impact. I sent out emails the day after the due dates informing parents that 3/4 of the students had not turned in their work. I thought that had a small impact...I received about 15 more assignments the next class day. However, yesterday was the due date for round 3 of the same ongoing project...again, I only received projects from a fraction of the students. Mind you...the due dates for the entire year are posted on my board and written in two places in their planners. Plus, I reminded them EVERY DAY this week! :dunno: I, too, am over their apathy. I shudder to think what awaits them at the high school next year!
     
  6. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jan 12, 2008

    Cassie ~ That is sad that they are blaming you! It seems like you go above & beyond to make sure they can check how they are doing in your class! And how crazy about the attendance thing. Like they don't know the're not in class...and like it's your job to keep track! Geeeez! If the parents do bother you hopefully your admin. will support you! Also I find it interesting that kids in sports only have to pass. When I was in school thy had to keep a C average. Just another sign of the times I guess. ~ sigh :hugs:
     
  7. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    Jan 12, 2008

    Man, I wish I had a system like that in place! What's it called?

    I agree that many students have no idea about consequences. I've been doing some reading of different economic cultures to try to get my head around it. My middle class background gave me blinders when I was dealing with my low-income/poverty kids. I now understand that
    A)In many of their famliy's, punishment is meant to cause forgiveness, not a change of behavior. Behavior--changing consequence is not natural to them.
    B) For many of them, the idea of changing their life is shot down by their heavy belief in fate.
    I see it everyday. What am I doing about it? I'm still working on it!

    Hang in there. From your posts, I'm sure that, in at least some of your students, you are having a positive effect on their lives.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jan 12, 2008

    Cassie,

    Those kids should not be complaining. I would see if you did not post their grades or infromed them of their grades at all during the quarter. Then you would have a problem. But what more could you ask for you posted them online and in the classroom.
     
  9. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jan 12, 2008

    You practically gave them every opportunity in the world to bring their grades up. It is their fault that they weren't aware (or didn't care) of their grades and now they have to deal with the consequences. It's a pity that they refuse to place blame where it belongs.
     
  10. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    Jan 13, 2008

    Back on point, yeah. Sometimes the answer to "What can I do to raise my grade?" should be "Nothing."
     
  11. MtotheC

    MtotheC Rookie

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    Jan 13, 2008

    I had the same mad rush at the end of the fall semester back in Dec. In fact, I gave 2 weeks to do a lit. interpretation paper that I hand-held them through and gave them 5 days in-class to write, and STILL only had 14 out of 28 turn it in. When they see their D averages on Monday, I'll bet they wished they had turned it in.
     
  12. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    Jan 13, 2008

    I'm one of the four teachers at our high school who really get lots of parental complaints and mad rushes at the end of the semester. Students need to pass US Gov, Econ, and English IV as seniors to graduate (it's probably like that at many high schools), but they don't read and complete assignments.

    Then, December rolls around or May rolls around, they've got an F and they find out they won't be marching. Then here comes mama and daddy telling me that I should have let them know. Hello, we have two scheduled Parent Conferences every year, we send out progress reports once per term, and ever hear of that little thing called a report card?

    But sometimes, I do feel terrible about keeping seniors from graduating or marching. If I know a student can't afford to pay for summer school, I may work with him or her to help out. But Cassie, you should stick to your guns. They're learning that they can't get everything in life by simply whining about it. I salute you.
     
  13. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I even went so far as to put names of students on the board who owed me work, (gasp, I know...) and they still haven't turned it in. I gave them until Tuesday and that's it. We will see how many failures I have this marking period. I think its going to be a lot.

    What really gets me is our final - for our district students do a self-assessment essay, basically writing whether or not they think they are ready for the next grade and why. I have actually had kids write an essay about how its my fault they are going to fail the class, when they haven't turned in any work all semester! I don't feel bad at all when I put an F on those report cards. Lack of self-responsibility is the one thing I cannot tolerate in my classroom.
     
  14. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Jan 13, 2008

    Cassie --

    I completely understand your plight! I must say.. kudos to you for telling that student like it is! They LOVE to act like they have NOTHING to do with their performance and that it's our fault when they do poorly. It really nags me too. Day in and day out. You're fortunate your school has a denial of credit policy. I WISH my school had that. I've had several kids cut class for more than 6 days. One kid has been absent - UNEXCUSED for over 2 months and I haven't heard a peep about it from his guidance counselor or administration; although I have asked. I am so FED up with the complaints and I just TRY to deal with it because I realize it's expected day in and day out at this point. Most of my students are lazy and most likely not punished at home when they act out of line.. which is most likely the root cause of the b.s. they try to pull in school.
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jan 13, 2008

    I'm still pretty new at the secondary education thing, but I can tell you that the whining continues into the community college setting. Every single term I taught I had at least a half dozen students who rarely showed up for class, never did assignments, and failed the exams come to be crying and begging and generally whining because they would loose their financial aid if they failed my class. My response to the question "what can I do to pass your class" was always "take it next term, but this time actually show up for class once or twice."

    Yes, I know I'm heartless, but tell those whiny students that the consequences just keep getting worse as they get older. I flat out do not care about any student who can't be bothered to come to class and will not lift a finger to help a supposed student who acts like anything but one (at least at the college level, I've learned to do a lot more hand holding with 7th graders, but hey, they're not grown up yet.)
     
  16. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jan 15, 2008

    Cassie the "Connoisseur"
    I hear you!
    I have been telling my students to come in and retake any test they want, to to improve their grade. I can count on one hand the number who have retaken a test.

    BTW I checked my students grades in all subjects and in all but 3 (out of 160) The grade in my class was with in the range of their other subjects!
     
  17. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jan 15, 2008

    That doesn't surprise me, MM. So few schools/teachers/parents hold these kids accountable for *anything* during their primary and secondary years, that it comes as a shock when you (or their first boss) do it.

    How frustrating. :(
     
  18. MtotheC

    MtotheC Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2008

    I just got our dept. head meeting minutes the other day and found out that many of our juniors and seniors have above a 3.0 GPA, yet they can't seem to pass the FCAT. Something tells me that we're either too easy one them in the classroom, or the FCAT is bogus. Because I had no problems taking the FCAT as a student, I'm tempted to believe that we're a bit too easy on them. I know lots of teachers in my building who bend over backward for these students. I, however, do not, and their grade reflects that. I hold them accountable for everything, but I give them TONS of grading opportunities. I give a daily grade EVERY day. It's worth 10 points to their final grade. Our guidance dept. had over 100 failures for last semester. How do these kids not care about their grades?! My parents freaked if I even THOUGHT about a C as "good enough." *shrug* Maybe it's the rain affecting me already.
     
  19. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    Jan 17, 2008

    Today and tomorrow are final exam days, and as I was about to hand out scantrons, a student came up to ask what he can make up. :eek:

    I had given multiple opportunities to do make-up work! What was he thinking?:down:
     
  20. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Jan 18, 2008

    I feel your pain. I have 6 classes (4 soph, 2 fresh) One of my soph. class (World Civ) I have about 6-8 F grades out of 31 students and a few D-. Bottom line, laziness, not completing work with 50 pts, 100 pts. They don't understand the concept of how 100 pts can severly make or break you. We passed out grade cards yesterday, one student came in and said Mom is going to kill me, I said Your group not turning in the research project hurt you. Her reply..I asked (group member) if she turned it in and she said she did. I replied..did you come ask ME? (no she did not). Next student, I'm going to be in so much trouble. My reply..well, you didn't turn in your notebook and your group did not turn in the research project. She ASKS ME..if I could write a note saying she LOST HER NOTEBOOK and was unable to turn it in so she'd not get in trouble. Um..no.
    Mind you, they had at least 7 days IN CLASS and in a computer lab to work on this group project. I had told them, if you feel your group is not working, come to me and ask to do it on your own, I'll let you. One student as he saw he was getting a D- tells me, How could I do it on my own? You made it a group project so it MUST be too hard for someone alone to do it. To clarify..it was looking up warfare for a distinct time period and telling about what it was used for, the care, cost..and the like. Two page double spaced paper..for sophomores. Mhmm...its SUCH a difficult assignment..:huh:
     
  21. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Our kids had exams and half days on Wed and Thurs, and had off Friday for Inservice. I told them several times that all make up work was due on Tuesday. I got an email containing a month-old HW assignment from a student on FRIDAY.

    DELETE!
     
  22. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Jan 20, 2008


    Like so many he wasn't thinking........:(:(
     
  23. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jan 20, 2008

    How can you do that?!?!?! :rolleyes: you are just a mean old teacher
    you should change you expectations they are just too high :rolleyes:

    wait let me get my tongue out of my cheek
     
  24. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I think this is a good system, and must be a district policy here, because all the teachers do it in middle school and high school. I get two or three progress reports and grade reports during the semester that I have to sign for each class. (Except PE) The progress reports list all assignments/tests and whether or not they were turned in. The grade reports list the grades they've received for each assignment/test. So you are kept fairly up-to-date on what your student is doing all along, and they can't squirrel out of work. It's good for the teachers, too, since neither the parent nor the student would be able to complain they were unaware of the student's progress.
     
  25. jessicai67

    jessicai67 Rookie

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    That reminds me of the students who's mom called me last quarter the day after grades were turned in and asked ME what I intended to do about HER son's failing grade. I had given him makeup work the week before, and called her to let her know. I then called her the day before it was due and told her he hadn't yet turned it in. He turned it in 2 days after grades were due and I told him it was too late. Never mind the fact that I send a progress report home every other week with a grade on it. It was of course, MY FAULT, that the young man was failling because I just don't like him. He transferred out of my class after that because I was "prejudiced," and went to another science class. He now has actually a lower grade than the one he earned from me. I suppose he will be here again next year, but I dare the guidance department to put him back in my class.
     
  26. MtotheC

    MtotheC Rookie

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    Feb 7, 2008

    I've started posting their grades in my class (with student numbers, of course), and I'm shocked at their reactions. It really spurred most of them into action. This is the last week of grades before the half of the 9 weeks progress report grades, and now I'm sorta swamped in their makeup work. Some of them will be none too happy, though, that decided not to pay attention to the posting. I even color coded their grades and provided a key for those who can't make sense of all those numbers.
     
  27. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    No good Deed goes unpunished
     
  28. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Feb 7, 2008

    I have an interesting situation where I have a boy in my 9th grade class and his mother in my chemistry study group at the CC (we offer guided study groups for certian "high risk" classes, and the chm for nurses is one of them). The mom is a great student, but the son is super lazy. As soon as we realized the connection and I updated the mom on jr's progress, homework was getting done on time...AMAZING. lol
     
  29. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Feb 7, 2008

    The power of information
    YES AMAZING how we can change a student just by telling a parent the truth
    Good job
     
  30. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Feb 7, 2008

    mmswm, Dave is right on.......... good job........:):):)
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Feb 8, 2008

    Thanks...This single mom/two job thing is tough...glad there are some advantages.
     

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