Thursday, February 5, 2009

i made the tough kid cry!

my students drove me up the wall yesterday. today i spent an entire hour with one class giving a pop quiz to piss them off, then discussing their behavior and grading policy.

i explained that behavior was now worth 45% of their final grade, test and quizzes 45%, and hw 10%. they were really shocked. their jaws dropped when i told them that if they routinely misbehave in my class, the best they could hope for is a 55. I told them i'll give them a bunch of 20s and 30s if i have to. They were in disbelief.

One student said he isn't a good test taker so how can he pass my class. We went through the math and saw that even if you average a 50 on my test, if you give 100% of everything else, it's still possible to get around an 80. The kids loved that and decided they could live with my grading policy.

Then we did the math and saw that even if you get a 90 average in my class, if you can't control your behavior, and miss homework, you will get a 55 from me. They were shocked yet again.

After this, they wanted to know what their averages were so far. I went through the entire class list out loud (they all love to share their grades except for one girl!) Everyone was passing since the semester started on Tuesday except for the biggest bully/tough guy/obnoxious kid in the school. He was averaging about a 40. He was very mad and nearly walked out of the room.


The second class I decided to discuss grades with were much more receptive. They accepted it as is and in addition, they asked for weekly progress reports with their daily behavior grades and notes for improvement. This is a lot of work for me, but if it can help keep a few kids on track, it's worth it. We decided that every friday we'll spend 10-15 minutes discussing their progress. If it works with this class, I might try it with my other classes. I'm actually very proud that they came up with the idea on their own. This class happens to be very motivated, but they can easily get out of control, so I think this might work.

Fast forward to after school, and the guidance councelor came in to talk to me about the failing kid. The boy was very upset and didn't understand how he could be failing after only 2 days and asked me to speak with him about his options. Well we couldn't find him and when we finally did, he was hiding out in the classroom next door to mine. He came to talk to me and his eyes were damp with tears! I told him what I needed from him tomorrow and what he needs to do from now on. I ran a couple of computer simulations for him to show him that since it's so early, he could be passing by tomorrow already. and by next week he could be in the 80s. but he was choking back tears the entire time. i couldn't believe it. i didn't feel bad for him at all; call me an insensitive bitch, but the kid has been doing the same thing since september. but this time i think it really hit home for once. and i'm glad it did. we'll see if he makes any changes now.

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