I have been quite busy. The main thing that has been taking up my time is the new career as a High School Science Teacher. I have been working so much that I don’t have time to read blogs, let alone write one. Let me explain how my week typically goes:
I spend about 20 hours a week teaching class.
I attend about 2 hours a week in training.
I spend another 10-15 hours a week grading papers.
I takes me about 4 hours to plan the next week’s classes.
Then I spend about 3 hours a week on parent conferences.
I spend 3-4 evenings a week attending High School sporting events (JV and Varsity Football, Girl’s Volleyball, Swimming, and Golf.)
This was supposed to be a part time job (I only get paid for 20 hours a week). That leads me to my troubles of the past month:
I had a problem with many of my students not turning in their work. Those that were turning it in, were not really trying all that hard. In fact, more than half of my students had earned a grade that was below a C. I was desperately looking for a solution. I finally found one: There is a school policy stating that any student receiving below a C in a core course (Math, Science, English) will be placed on mandatory tutoring.
So what I did was establish two days a week as tutoring days, and the sessions would last for one hour. Any student who had below a 50% would have to attend both days each week, and any student who had a grade between 50 and 70% would have to attend one. During the sessions, the students would be working on and turning in any assignment that they had received an F or a Zero on.
It worked even better than I had hoped. Every single student increased their grade as a result tutoring. My classes went from having a 62% average with 23 F’s, to a 74% and only 4 F’s. There are only 10 students left with a D or an F. 4 students went from an F to a B, and all but 7 of the students increased by at least a full letter grade. I did all of these tutoring sessions off the clock, and didn’t get paid for a minute of them. Good work, right?
The parents of one of my students are furious, as is their child. This child doesn’t want to sit in tutoring and do work. She is demanding that the student be given extra credit to take home and bring back. I explained to them that I don’t do extra credit, and if the students would just do the work as assigned, that is sufficient to get a passing grade. The parents are emailing the Principal and the Superintendent and claiming that I am punishing their child by holding them after school and giving a bad grade. This is reflected in the student’s attitude. The student called me stupid, refused to do any further assignments, threw her books across the room, and then stormed out of the classroom by kicking the door open while declaring that she was going to report me to the principal and to her parents.
We scheduled a parent/teacher conference. (For the third time this year with this parent.) I explained that I just grade the homework as done or not done, and the exams, which are multiple choice, and there is no teacher discretion built into my grading plan. I set the course up this way so no one could claim that I was being unfair. The parent still insists that I am giving their student a D just to punish them. The father used as an example that I reduced his daughter’s grade because she turned in an assignment late, as per class policy. (My class policy is 10% off for each day late). He said that the paper was turned in the next morning, which was only 18 hours late. I asked him what happens if you mail in your tax return 18 hours late. Then I showed him his wife’s signature and his daughter’s signature on the classroom policy paper, where they acknowledged that policy. He was furious. When I mentioned the student’s temper tantrum from the other day, the parent told me to my face in front of the Vice-principal that I was “a damned liar.” They have threatened to get an attorney.
It has since come out that the student is secretly taking photos and video in class to use as proof that I am not teaching to the student’s and parents’ standards. If this student would only pay attention in class instead of trying to prove me wrong, they would be earning a better grade than a D in my course.
This morning, the student tweeted out “Fuck my science teacher. We r gonna get him fired.” Don’t think that I am not giving that particular tweet to the Principal.
In other news, while proctoring the SAT, a student showed up without photo ID. No photo ID, no test. Those are the rules. The teachers don’t make the rules for the SAT, the College Board does. The parent immediately launches into a tirade about what an asshole the teacher is, and how the teachers are personally responsible for ruining his child’s chances at a future because they won’t let him in without ID, and now the kid can’t get into college without his SAT scores.
The parents are more immature than the kids. Teaching is easy. It is dealing with the students and the parents that is hard.