A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, December 12, 2008

Status report

The classroom is normally packed with bodies. But apparently there is some kind of combination of insanity and crud drifting the halls of the high school, that crazed year-end malaise of those who suddenly stick their heads up out of the fog and realize that they are this close -- thisclose-- to not earning their credits and it's time to try to sic their parents or grandma or whomever on the mean teachers who haven't performed miracles for them, who haven't just given up on expecting them to do their homework and even study. These are the people who are going to claim that you've never spoken to their kid, never suggested coming in for help, never been available after school every single day, and so therefore there has to be an appeals process somewhere whereby they will magically be granted a grade that is more commensurate with their lofty expectations.

There is the mad scramble of kids who spend hours each day updating their Facebook page to claim that their honors classes take too much of their time and they can't possibly remain in them next semester. But they can write stuff like: "Connor is now sneezing." Four seconds later: "Connor is thinking about pie." Two minutes later: "Connor has a rash in his armpit." This is going on during the same three hours that the kid is claiming that he spends EVERY NIGHT doing his AP Chemistry homework.

There is some sort of flu going around. It's the kind of flu that makes one incapable of dragging oneself out of bed for school but dressed and ready to party when someone texts that Janie's parents are out of town this weekend. One of the students in this classroom has had this flu every single day for twenty school days in a row, but Mom has been allowed to call him in sick, and these absences are excused. The semester ends in 8 days, and this student now wants all of his makeup work. He was going to come in this morning, and we were told to look for him. But the seat sat empty again. The last time this kid was in class was eighty years of United States history ago.

There's the kid who makes you laugh because he just told you that his English teacher has started taking his vampire book away from him until he finishes the two page paper that is due in twenty minutes. Talk about bringing out the hammer!

There's the kid who just went to the bathroom and threw up, and is now lying to me about it so she doesn't have to go to the nurse. I'm hoping that I don't know the reason why she just threw up, because all three possibilities or a combination thereof would not be good at all.

This classroom is usually packed with bodies. Right now it is just packed with teen angst.

But it is Friday, and a storm may be heading our way. A storm may be already here.

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At 12/13/08, 12:23 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

Was Friday a full moon?
Our kids were nuts, too. Top it off with incoming cold blast/possible snow and a tornado drill. Yes, Friday was fun.
I've got those same dummies who never come, yet want their makeup work and are probably going to fail. Grrr. It seems as though I care about them passing more than they do.

At 12/13/08, 1:35 PM, Blogger Lightly Seasoned said...

Woo! My students have the same flu, except it's over their research paper. Last week I took the time (that I had anticipated using to grade all those drafts that never came in) calling parents and being quite blunt about Janie/Johnny's inability to pass the course unless I received that paper. I'll still get push-back on all those failing grades next month, but they won't be able to say they weren't given fair warning.

My district has been getting more aggressive about kids who don't attend. They used to think about withdrawing them around state testing time (to avoid being dinged for LND), but I've had several withdrawn already for not showing up. I'm pretty happy to play the make-up work game because it almost never comes in and I just tell them to download certain assignments from the homework website. Not much effort to put it back in their deserving laps.

At 12/13/08, 2:52 PM, Blogger Dan Edwards said...

"Earache my eye! How'd ya like a buttache !"

Isn't this type of thing pretty constant from year to year? One of my former teaching colleagues, when confronted by parents "angry at teacher" due to poor student performance/grades, used to directly look at them and flat out ask them, "Ok, so tell me what grade you'd like me to assign "Jr." After all, I am a public school teacher and I "work" for you. So, just tell me what grade you belived "Jr." deserves, and I shall GIVE "Jr" that grade."

At 12/14/08, 4:19 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

But I'm not willing to give their little darling the A they all think she deserves. So I'm not even going to open that door.

These people have no shame.

At 12/14/08, 5:04 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Heard in Mr. Fred's planning area last Wednesday:

"Is there anything my little darling can do to raise their grade?"

Ummm, no ma'am, the last assignment is in two days, but thanks for asking. Maybe you should have checked his grades earlier which are available online.

And no, I don't give out extra credit.

At 12/16/08, 8:24 AM, Blogger Goldie said...

I'm making my 13yo memorize your Connor paragraph, and recite it to me until he realizes he does, too, have enough time to do his homework. Say, how do I email ya? I need expert teacher advice.

At 12/17/08, 3:16 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Thou may'st reacheth moi at head_apeAThotmailDOTcom...


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