You can't pass the class if you don't do any work...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Sshintaku, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Apr 20, 2010

    As grades were due last week, I find myself repeating over and over...
    "You can't get good grades if you don't turn in any work." My freshman seem to be having a hard time with this concept, and think that turning in a couple missing assignments should make up for a whole quarter of incomplete work, slacking off in class, no homework, etc.

    I regularly print out grade reports for them, send home grade reports, call home for kids who regularly miss big assignments, etc. It's really just the freshman who don't seem to understand that failing a class WILL hurt them in the long run (a cycle that is extremely prevalent at my school).

    Any suggestions as to how to better motivate them? And get the concept across that good grades require consistantly doing the work?

    Obviously, internal motivation is the best, etc etc. Fact of the matter is, they have no motivation of any kind, much less internal.
     
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  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I feel your pain. I have students who'll have done little to no work, and then have a day when they do a lot and somehow that one day of hard work is supposed to bring their grade from a 22% to passing? Really? Sigh.

    What has worked for me with a few students is showing them my pleasure on the days they do the work. In my head I'm doubting it'll happen again any time soon but to them I say "It was great seeing you on task today, let's make tomorrow another great day." Sure, it doesn't work for all of them, but I have a few that went from failing last marking period to passing this one, and I think encouragement from me is the main reason. One student in particular comes to mind, he had a 42% last marking period and now has a 78%. I encourage him regularly, spoke positively to mom when she came to our spring open house, and I sent a note home saying how proud I was of his hard work and effort. He still has days of low productivity, but the turnaround has been awesome to see.

    I've also chatted to the student's counselor and then they call them in for a follow up chat. Works for a few anyway. It seems most effective for the ones that are maybe 10% bellow passing vs. the miserably failing ones.

    Good luck to you.
     
  4. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    I try to encourage them, praise them for the small things, etc. And they certainly do appreciate it, but then they think just because I praised them, like you said, that somehow they are magically passing now.

    Counselors might be a good idea, I'll have to try that.
     
  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    What subject do you teach?
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Sometimes, I think the kids just have to see they really WILL fail if they don't do the work - period. And it isn't the fault of anyone else...it's all on them.

    During my student teaching, I had a few kids that simply would NOT do any work. I tried every approach I could think of and none of it had any effect. When they have absolutely zero motivation of any kind, it is almost impossible to create any.

    Some students did start getting the message when the P informed them they were being kicked off the sports team because of their low grades. They motivated a few of them. But the best success I had came when I showed them my classroom rules were just that - rules - rather than "suggestions".

    My most famous rule was "If you do it in pen, you do it again". I taught middle school math and began strictly enforcing this rule after a weekend spent grading papers done in various neon colors of ink. I had made allowances because the CT didn't enforce the rule and students often complained they didn't have a pencil to write with since other teachers accepted work in pen. However, the Monday after grading several neon papers, I told the students there would be no more exceptions to this rule - period. Starting tomorrow, they better make sure they had a pencil when they came to my room. Several students didn't really believe me, until they got homework assignments back marked with a "0" for using pen and directions to do the homework over if they wanted to improve that grade.

    It only took re-doing the homework one time for them to get the message.
     
  7. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I with you guys BIG TIME.


    My freshman have grown up in a world where they have to put forth a GREAT deal of effort to be held back. Failing in middle school typically means getting griped at more frequently and MAYBE having to attend summer school.

    High school is a huge transition for them and several just don't get the concept of "you will be repeating this class if you fail it." I have preached it since day one. I have also preached that zero's kill your grade and I post grades by student number on a weekly basis so they KNOW what they are making in my class.

    Most of my students do well and do care, but about 10% simply don't care until now that it is the end of the year. In their past experience, they can work the last few weeks and they won't be held back. Now they are upset because they're going to be doing Alg I again next year as a result of not doing crap for all but the last 4 weeks of the school year.

    This small handlful just don't understand the concept that not doing the work means repeating the class and they don't listen when you tell them that there are consequences for not doing the work. It is something they have never experienced and they have not been taught.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I could have written this! A parent calls me and wants to know why their child failed my class last quarter. I respond that I've only received three assignments out of 32, but those three were A work. The tone of the discussion changes quickly after that.
     
  9. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    YES! WAAAYYY too many of my kids failed middle school completely and were moved on to high school. Now they have 5th and 6th grade skill levels and are expected to perform at a 9th grade level, which just isn't happening.

    I overheard a student's conversation yesterday, "I got an F, F and an F and a D, and I got a D for the end of the year so you're totally going to pass. Don't worry."
     
  10. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    We aren't allowed to retain an 8th grader if that student will become 16 years old during the next year. This is so we don't have 16 year old 8th graders, I guess. This causes problems towards the end of their 9th grade year when they haven't passed anything but PE and don't understand how they can be a freshman again.
    I had a kid ask me today "How can I have a 29% in here?" Well, you haven't turned in twelve assignments and here are some of your other grades - 12, 8, 29, 63, 42, etc. "But I got a 100 on that worksheet last week."

    My personal pet peeve is when I hear a student say "Well there is no way I can pass math because Mrs. L hates me and she is making me fail."
    Hello! She is grading the work and giving you the grade you deserve and it is her fault you are failing? It is a math class, the grade is figured using some of that math that you fail to learn because you aren't in school or just aren't paying attention. You don't fail a class because the teacher hates you. You fail because you don't do the work, don't do the homework, don't pay attention, don't come to class, and you fail the tests. Take some personal responsibility for once.
     
  11. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    That's one of my FAVORITES. "Why did YOU give me an F/D?" Um.. I didn't GIVE it to you, you earned it yourself...
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Excellent response!!! :thumb:
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I always say that I didn't give it to them, I just wrote it down.
     
  14. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    :rofl:


    Oh. I love the parents that come in asking you why you gave their child a low grade (even B's or C's). All I have to do is simply print out their child's grade grid and show them the scores from all their work. It's not like it should be a surprise. I send home graded papers every Monday and Tuesday, as well as a hand written note on each child's progress every Monday.
     
  15. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    In our state, when a student turns 16 and is credit deficient, they are eligible for continuation school.

    For some reason, 10th grade seems to be that time when there is a lot of students who just "fall out" or even drop out....they are really vulnerable at that age...
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    After multiple emails to my students making sure they all know exactly what they need to do to pass, I get THIS email:

    Dear Cat (yes, she used my first name),

    I was wanting to know if there was any way that you could send me a list of the assignmnets that i still need to do through the mail soi can jsut go through and check them off as i do them.

    --Student​
    :banghead:
     
  17. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Depending on just when their birthday is, a student who turns 16 in their 8th grade year, may not be allowed to complete their senior year due to their age alone
     
  18. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    :lol: If I had a dollar for every time I've said that!
     
  19. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    to cat
    what total chutzpah!
    I would tell her don't even bother...A student calls you by your first name?? Where do you teach?? Bryn Mawr??
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nah, I'm at an online school where my emails go out with my first name but I sign everything as Mrs. Fiddle. My cousin graduated from Bryn Mawr, albeit years ago, but I can't imagine her being even borderline disrespectful when there's a grade in the balance.
     
  21. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Tell them when they get to college, they'll get teachers like me. I can't tell you the number of times I've had the following conversation.

    Student: I don't know what to do! I HAVE to pass this class. If I don't pass this class, I'll lose my financial aid/parents will stop paying/ect.

    Me: I'm sorry, but I can't give you a passing grade. The syllabus clearly states my expectations, and you failed to turn in the required work and you did no obtain passing scores on exams.

    Student: Is there anything I can do? Can I do some extra credit or something?

    Me: No. I'm sorry, but the expectations were clear. You failed to meet even the minimum standards. You will not pass this class.

    Student (crying now): Are you sure? Is there anything I can do? This is going to ruin my life!

    Me (exasperated): Oh, I have a great idea! Take it next term, and next time, do your work.

    Usually this conversation happened during finals week.
     
  22. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    I am also amazed at how many students will have the nerve to ask me for extra credit 3 days before the end of the term/semester. I figure I offer plenty of opportunities for extra credit during the year, and they didn't take those opportunities so they are out of luck. They just don't like my EC because they are "hard" logic type assignments. It galls me that they expect easy word searches for about 50 points of EC when they did no work during the year.

    Also a favorite: "I know it's the end of the quarter, but can I turn in this that was due 9 weeks ago and get some points for it?" Ummm..NO!
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm accepting work even from last quarter until May 21st. At this point, I'm begging students individually to hand in enough for me to pass them. Thankfully, many of them are taking me up on this offer and are putting in a sincere effort. They pale in comparison to those who have already finished all of the coursework a month early, but I'll take them!
     
  24. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    LOL - I love that answer! It really is that simple - do the work when it's due and there's a good chance you'll pass. :thumb:

    During my undergrad years, I worked in the Econ/Finance office for my work study. The secretary had a sign hanging by the door for everyone to see when they came in...

    "Lack of planning on your part does not make it an emergency on my part."
     
  25. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Or, as my father always said: "Never forget the 7 P's. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pi** Poor Performance".
     
  26. Mrs Ski

    Mrs Ski Companion

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    This exact quote is on the laminating machine at my school.
     
  27. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Middle school kids are "socially" promoted if they hit 16. translation- the middle school does not have student parking.
     
  28. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    What? I have to actually do WORK to pass a class? What is this AP American History?
     
  29. MaestraEspanola

    MaestraEspanola New Member

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    I'm glad I'm not alone in this, even though I'm sorry others are having the same problems. I have been feeling so frustrated lately myself as a Spanish teacher. I also teach freshman, and I rarely leave my work feeling happy with my students. The majority just do not care and will admit to me that their other classes come first because Spanish is an elective. Many have dug themselves in such a hole that there's no way they will pass my class, and it's all due to not turning in work. I'm debating how to handle this situation next year; if I should just make my class all test/quiz/project based in-class, but then I feel that doesn't teach them responsibility or individual ownership. I'm teaching Spanish 2 and 3 next year, so I'm hoping things will be different, but I don't know.
    It's only my second year of teaching,and I'm feeling frustrated already with the attitude and laziness of these kids! How do you deal with it?
     
  30. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    I have a friend who is a Spanish teacher, and he says the difference between Span 1 and the upper levels is a HUGE difference. Maybe next year will be better for you.

    My kids also have a big "homework problem." My solution is that I give homework once or twice a week (usually pass out on Monday, collect on Friday). This way, if they don't do homework it doesn't automatically dig their grave, but it will substantially lower their grade (IE. you can't get an A by just doing in-class things.)
     
  31. MaestraEspanola

    MaestraEspanola New Member

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    That's some uplifting news; thanks!

    I've thought about doing the giving out homework on Monday and having it due Friday next year. I think that might help.

    Thanks!
     
  32. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    I give HW every day (three days a week - block schedule) and eash week's HW is due in a packet (stapled and in order!) on the day of the test every week. I just started this last year, and it's helped, especially since kids are so busy some days that they don't have time to do the HW that night, but can get it done the next night. Of course, if they don't get it done that night, they miss out on many of the nuances of the good discussion and corrections the next day, but that was their choice. It's been working out well so far, though I honestly have to consider that some copying may be being done due to the long time between assigning the work and the work being due. I figure if the test grades are bad but the HW is perfectly done, I'll have a long discussion with that particular student (smile!)
     
  33. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    GREAT NEWS UPDATE!

    Two of my students have hunkered down and gone from a zero to passing my class in a matter of days! I've been able to call my other stragglers / slackers to point to their good example. It's working! I've also gotten permission to hold my graduation list until a week from tomorrow, giving more time for some last ditch effort.

    THEY'RE WORKING!!!!
     
  34. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    :lol:
     
  35. Allysundrop

    Allysundrop Rookie

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    I have the same problem....about 7 out of my 24 honors students are failing my class. That's my honors class!! Just imagine my regular classes....We aren't really supposed to give homework so the majority of my grades are just classwork. Often, we do it together as a class!!

    I finally put my foot down this semester and said "no makeup work" and I'm trying to stick to it, but I'm so afraid that I won't be "allowed" to fail so many students. I think I will go insane if I have to grade a ton of makeup work on top of all of the other end of the year exams. It's my first year! I just can't see letting the student make up the work when they sat in class and ignored me the whole time.

    Next year, it has to be better!
     
  36. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    This is a variation on the familiar line, "I don't fail students, they fail themselves [by not doing the work]."
     
  37. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    To add to the last comment.....

    I had a student last year who had 2 of her buddies fail the class while she got a B. She came to thank me for "giving her the B."


    I stopped her mid sentence. "Hold up _____. I didn't GIVE you anything. You earned it."


    And she didn't earn it by being really great at math, she earned it by working her butt off to get it.


    It is a conversation I hope to never forget as it gave me a lot of insight into what they see.
     
  38. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The deadline for past due assignments for my class is 3pm today. The number of phone calls I've had in the past 24 hours is overwhelming! So many of my failing students and their parents want to know how much more they have to do. I'm exhausted!
     
  39. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Ah, I feel your pain! All of you! I tell the kids (and state it in the parent letter) at the beginning of the year that:

    1. I don't give extra credit assignments; most of the time the kids that want extra credit are the ones who can't get the work done in the first place so why give them more work.

    2. I usually give a few extra credit point questions on tests/quizzes.

    3. Late homework is an automatic 60%. Not handed in at all is a 0. I do give homework passes once every six weeks and an extra one for Christmas. The pass allows them to hand one HW assignment in one day late without penalty. More than one day - it is a 60% HW pass or not.

    4. Late projects/major writing assignments lose a grade a day - no passes accepted.

    I teach at a middle school and the policy is if the student has an F in two or more core subjects, they are "placed" in 9th grade - not promoted. It is rare, if ever, that an 8th grader is held back.

    It is frustrating.
     
  40. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    We recently got notified by our district about failing seniors. Essentially, that we have no right to keep them from graduating after they have put in 12 years of working toward this moment.
     
  41. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Um...wow.

    I failed two, but they had both pretty much quit coming to school.
     

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