The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How's It Working For You?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

This week, I am working on academic warnings for those students who are not working up to par or have excessive absences. On the plus side, my Analytical Wring class is doing very well. They also have a 98% attendance rate.

My CT class is not doing so well. There are a few "repeat offenders" in this class. In fact, thee are a few in my CT class this semester that failed my CT class last semester. One student in particular just doesn't seem to get it. She is doing the same things that got her into trouble last semester. And just like last semester, I sent her a notice indicating that I have concerns about her performance and that she should meet with me. Will she? If past behavior is a predictor of future behavior, my guess is no.

On a positive side, three of CT repeaters are actually doing much better. Their attendance has improved and they are doing a good job. All three of them told me in confidence that they realize the error of their ways and they want to do well. One of them even told me that she felt bad becuase she really liked me as an instructor and believe she let me down by not performing to the best of her ability.

How is it that some students get it and others do not? I mean if Behavior A does not present a desired result, what makes one think that repeating Behavior A will achieve the desired result. At what point does the light bulb click on and one realizes "Gee, this isn't working. Better try something else."

Seems to make sense to me. But then again, I think the CT student in question was absent the day I presented problem solving.


M in my diary said...

I totally get this. Here's something somewhat but not completely related: last paper grading round, I decided when I handed back papers to make the general statement in class that those who did not turn a paper in were in trouble, and they needed to speak with me as soon as possible. I didn't single anyone out, but I was really surprised that nearly everyone who did not turn a paper in came up to me after class.

I think that often in my desire to fend off the excuse list, I give off a vibe that it's useless for students to give their explanation. I used this as an opportunity to listen (although quite frankly it doesn't matter) just so that I could explain at the end how this put them behind b/c they didn't get the feedback, etc. blah blah blah, and stress how they would have to work extra hard on the next assignment.

Aside from that little experience, I think that many of my students' problems are related to unrealistic expectations of themselves. They make the same mistakes because they have this vague notion of what they can accomplish if they just set their minds to it and try, and they're not thinking abotu the specific details about how to accomplish these things. I have people who can't make it to class on time b/c their daycare plans changed. Mama got another job and now she can't take care of Student's baby. Almost ALL of my late people are late b/c of childcare issues and lack of planning.

Most of my students who are not doing the work are also not coming to class regularly - generally for the same reasons.

Then there's that one guy who I have who hasn't been to class the last Tuesday or Thursday. The time he was last there? That was the time I asked him out into the hallway, told him he smelled like marijuana, and told him not to come into my class smelling like weed again.

I guess Weed is the King in that situation.

Sorry to get so long-winded!

Seeking Solace said...

M: No worries.

I see lack of planning as a huge problem. It seems that many do not come up with a Plan B for those times that they might need it.

I guess Dude thought smelling like weed was the better choice!

Alice said...

Unexcused absences is my professional pet peeve, I guess. Yes, balancing numerous responsibilitis is difficult and sometimes things come up that do affect classroom attendance. However, it's student's responsibility to make appropriate arrangements. As teachers, we can only do so much; we can't force students to attend, alas.