How to Improve Your Grade
I was asked by a student today about how he could improve his grade. Beyond the obvious answer:
(Get higher grades on your work. Understand that a zero will NOT raise your average.)
there are these thoughts:
1. You cannot have everything. If you want to work thirty-two hours a week for a car payment that you admit was your own choice, do not expect me to give you extended time for assignments. You have made a choice.
You. Have. Made. A. Choice.
You have the complete freedom to make this choice. This does not mean that I then have to change my classroom policies to accomodate your choice. I will not, because in the end you have to understand the cost of choices. And take responsibility for them. This is part of my job. You will have a cool ride, and you will have a C. Maybe.
-----1a. If you're going to cry any time your grade gets near a B while working thirty-two hours a week, then eighty-six the job.
2. You have to study and learn the material. I do not give points for "trying." Sometimes you can try really hard, and still not achieve mastery.That means you need help to adjust whatever needs adjusting. I am available every day after school, and you know it.
3. If I am having a conference with another student, do not walk up and demand that I drop my conversation to justify a grade to you, especially when I have written comments for you on the paper which explain the grade. The first part is rude; the second part is just annoying.
4. If you are not reading the material, your grade will suffer. There is no way around this.
5. If I give you forty minutes of class time, and you complete three questions over the material, and then you work six hours after school, it is justified for me to conclude that you wasted your class time. Just because you weren't talking to anyone or disturbing anyone doesn't mean you will be given more time. You had time. And you had to stay longer at your job to finish cleaning up, you say? I sense a pattern here. And it could stem from the fact that you are exhausted. Just a thought.
6. "No" means "no" when it comes oh-so-gently-but-firmly out of my mouth. Wheedling will not work. I know you have never experienced a system like this before, but you have had several weeks to get used to it.
7. What does this mean: "Well, I never do well on tests?" If you don't think that can change, and you make no effort to try to make this change (like coming to me for help, or turning off the TV while you are "studying,") what do you want ME to do about it?
8. Having the book open in front of you is not studying. Running your eyes over the words senselessly is not studying, either.
9. I tell you lots of things that are not in the book. Perhaps you should write them down? And then keep track of this piece of paper-- it's called "your notes"-- so that you can then actually study from it? Just a gentle suggestion.
10. I am not going to allow you to complete the work while we are discussing it in class. Nope. Not ever.
I am a teacher. I care enough about you to craft a good lesson every day. But nowhere in my job description does it say "enabler." I checked recently, because frankly, you never know around here. If school is an afterthought in your busy schedule, there are going to be repercussions.