End of the term

Friday we finished our first trimester of school. Grades are generally good - I give out frequent progress reports and point out to students how missing work is hurting their grades. In addition, every student with a D or an F called home last Tuesday to let their parents know. The conversations generally went like this:

Me: Okay, call your mom/dad/grandma/brother/whoever.

Kid: ...Really?

Me: Yep. I told you this was going to happen.

Kid: Yeah but ----

Me: No buts. Dial.

Kid (apprehensive look; dials phone): Hi Mom/Dad/Grandma/Brother/, I'm not in trouble, my teacher made me call to tell you that I have a D/F/7% [a very special snowflake] in Language Arts and that's going to be my trimester grade unless I hand in Missing Major Assignment/take Missing Quiz by Friday......I know......I KNOW......but --- .......yeah, but --- ......I KNOW, OKAY????? I'M GOING TO GET IT DONE!!!!!!

They'd hang up, shaking their heads at just how freakin' irritating their parents were (imagine the nerve! Wanting your child to succeed academically! What is WRONG with parents today?!?) and I'd ask if they'd be getting the work in. Yes, they'd say, I have to now. I'd smile sweetly and call the next little slacker over.

Sometimes the parents would ask to talk to me, and I'd reiterate the message and say that I just wanted them to be aware of the situation. They all thanked me for the call. All but three of the students completed the missing work by Friday, taking their grades up at least a letter grade, if not two.

That's the beauty of finishing the damn work, especially when you'd already done all of the work that led up to the publication. If you've done the mentor text analysis, the prewriting, and the drafting, and you've started the revising and just need to finish that and publish....why the hell wouldn't you? Nice that I could convince most of them to see it my way.

Tomorrow we'll be doing some binder organization (oh, our binders are disasters of epic proportions.....papers shoved in every which way, and I have a suspicion some aren't even for my class), and then a review of the class thus far. I do this at the end of every trimester (though I'm expanding this version). What have they learned, still find challenging, liked, disliked, wish we could have done. All stuff I want to know; it will help me plan for the future (both the rest of this year and next).

But then there are some other questions too, about me and how I'm doing. And that.....that I'm nervous about.

Because what if they think I suck? What if they think I'm a huge asshole, or incompetent, or any number of bad things? I'm still gonna ask because I still wanna know, but it could (likely will) make for a humbling and discouraging day. Either way, it'll probably be good for me.

(Image credit to coxy)


Sarah Garb said...

Good for you for wanting to know what they think--good or bad. I usually give an end of year survey to my second and third graders, but they're very easily distracted by factors such as the one day that year we had a pizza party. It's always interesting to see what they'd change. Last year a student wrote that I should pay less attention to students who are playing....and that's probably quite true.... Good luck!

teachin' said...

Sarah - thanks, I might need it. They're all sitting here in a pile and I haven't looked at any of them yet....and now it's kinda late, so I'll probably just wait till tomorrow. I don't want to lie awake and dwell if they're bad! :)

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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