Saturday, April 19, 2008

Griping about students, griping about grading

I have spent three afternoon and evenings grading lesson plans/reflections for Middle School reading -- and getting more and more frustrated because students don't follow directions to append the scoring guide or upload three to seven separate files, which I then take the time to put into one file so that I can return it to them in blackboard . . . when will I ever learn?

Well this semester, I've about had it. I'm going to go back through and deduct points from diligence and responsibility for those who have not followed directions - wish I had noted this on their scoring guides, but I didn't and I didn't make notes about it [I just got more and more frustrated], so I'll maybe get my GA to go through the files to see who actually followed directions [easier to do this way because fewer than 1/3 did so].

Maybe this is just the end of a semester and I'm really really tired, but most of all I'm frustrated that students don't seem to take the time to learn the technology they need to survive in a class that has blended delivery - some delivered online. The good news was that we met fewer times over the bulk of the semester; they were supposed to be using that time as class preparation, completing their work, turning it in appropriately. Aren't teachers supposed to be life-long learners? Why do so many of them seem not to care about their work? I've resisted going through their reflections and correcting grammar, too, and these are pre-service teachers who are the first to say the kids can't write or spell or use proper grammar. AUGGGH! But I didn't put that on the scoring guide -- well, enough griping for one very early morning. I'm really worried that these students will try to turn all this work that is left to be done at the last minute, and I'll be in a frenzy of grading at the same time I'm getting ready for IRA. Well, if that happens, those who turn it all in at the last minute will lose points in D & R -



Amber Golden said...

I wonder if students have been reading your blog and realizing how frustrated the end of the semester is for you as it is for us. As I read your blog, I felt smaller and smaller. Putting things off to the last minute not only causes problems for students, but for the professors as well. I can emapthize with your frustration as my students will tell me that they were absent the day I gave directions out and wanted more time to complete an assignment. I have been guilty as charged with procrastination; however, being a preservice teacher has taught me that procrastination hurts me as much as it hurts my students. Not enough time and thought put into projects or lessons causes careless mistakes. (My apologies to you personally for doing that.)

Hopefully, as preservice teachers in Cohort 5, we will learn to be prepared, not wait to the last minute, and not complain about things we had control over but did nothing about it. (At least we can see the silver lining!!!)

Anonymous said...

I certainly would not want to be forced to grade all of the lesson plans and reflections at the last minute. Some of my students turned things in late quite often and it is frustrating. Typically it was the same students over and over again. If I have turned in anything late then I do apologize. I still believe the strength of this class is in the wide choice of literacy strategies we are presented with. I look forward to finishing the semester strong.

-Aaron Temples

Anonymous said...

This was very difficult for me to read. I have tried to do my best in this class, and I apologize if I have turned in assignments late. I feel that there has been a great deal of miscommunication in this course. I have felt overwhelmed at many times because I do not know when assignments are due, what is expected in them, and where to find things on Blackboard. It is also a difficult thing for us to transition from being in charge of students all day to being in a situation where we are students, and that is probably a source of the breakdown in communication. I have learned some interesting techniques for teaching students through this course, and I hope that this week goes well for us all.
I certainly empathize with your frustration, as I have dealt with students turning in assignments late. It is unfortunately something that we will all have to deal with teaching middle schoolers.

Erin Montgomery

Anonymous said...

Wow, you seem very, very frustrated with our class. I am sure that I can speak for most of the class in saying that it was never our intent to frustrate, upset or even annoy you. Please know that at this point in the semester we are feeling about the same way. It has been difficult to turn in work when at times the blackboard was down, and you have experienced for yourself how slow the computer network is at the UC (taking 20 minutes to download a 2 minute video). That by no means is an excuse, just maybe a reason. Also, I have learned more teaching stragegies in this class than any of the other classes. Methods has offered other things about teaching, but this class has given me tools to take into the classroom if I were allowed to use them.
One thing I would like for you to consider before you throw all of us away is that possibly this class is one that should be taken once we are in the classroom as the teacher and not the student teacher. The reason I say this is because then we would be free to close our doors and actually use the literacy strategies and not have to worry about a CT who does not like change.
I am glad that you are this open about your feelings on the blog, but maybe the rules were different when you were a student teacher 100 years ago :), but at this time we have to teach according to the class rules that our CT has set if we want to successfully complete our student teaching.

Karen Harris

Randi Corley said...

I completely understand how it could be difficult and frustrating for a teacher to have to deal with students that do not follow directions and turn things in late. I for one do not think I have ever been a procrastinator because I hate being pressured to do things last minute, but we you have ten zillion things thrown in your face at once priorities and sacrifices have to be made. I think students are a lot like this, especially high school and middle school students. They have a lot going on. They are trying to find out who they are, and where they fit in while also trying to keep up with academic pressure. I know when I was in middle and high school academics pressured me so much, and I wanted to do so well that I had no friends and no social life. All I did was study, and I was constantly ridiculed for it. Our bigger goal as teachers should be to help students see that studying and good grades are a cool thing, not just a "smart people thing", but an "anyone that puts their mind to it thing". Teachers forget to remind students of this once they get to middle school. Of course, I had all these great awards and teachers loved me, but where were my friends to share it with. I came home crying every day that no one liked me and I had no friends. My mother can vouch for that. Sure that made me a great student, but life is not about grades. It is about skills and what you do with the skills you develop. Students can make A's but that does not mean they are learning anything. We need to be doing more than just giving assignments. We need to find better ways that incorporate things they can relate to. Teachers are always saying they want to include more real world applications, and so they do. The problem is that they incorporate application that have to do with things these students wont bother to care about until they have careers. Middle school and high school students do not care about wind resistance of a plane or how long it takes Suzie to get from point A to B. These kids spend their time watching tv, listening to music, going to the movies, the mall, gossiping, and etc. We need to use more pop culture in our assignments. One of my biggest frustrations with teachers is that they act like they understand, but they do not. They could not tell you what is popular on the radio, or the new hit song everyone is listening to, or what actress is now dating so and so, or even what a student may be dealing with on the inside that you do not see. Sure teachers were once that young, but they forget what it is like. One of my biggest things as a young teacher is that I can still relate to the students, because I was in their shoes not so long ago. Sometimes as teachers you get so rapped up in being a teacher you forget what it is like to be a student. I think the best thing for a teacher is to flip things around. Think of yourself as a student in your class. Would you want to be in your class or do the work you are asking? If not chances are neither do they.
Also, I do not understand why assignment are so limited. If there is all this talk about technology, then why are there not more choices in how to do a project or assignment. Maybe one student likes to write, but maybe another student would much rather make a movie, or write a song, or create a collage or piece of art. If new literacy studies say that there are all these different forms of text, then why are we as teachers not using them. Maybe students would be more likely to actually put effort into assignments and complete them on time if they actually had some control and choices in the process.