Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rigorous Classes and Blob's Park - These subjects are not related.

This Tuesday I missed school to attend the College Board Middle States Regional Forum. It was pretty nice outside so I decided to walk from Fells Point to the Renaissance Hotel, which made me wish that I could walk to work every day. The morning workshop/lecture was called "Rigor without Rigor Mortis," and the speaker made some pretty good points about making classes more rigorous (which is one of the education world's favorite words of the moment). The big thing that she talked about was providing support when you amp up how challenging your courses are.

What she didn't talk about -- which is my biggest problem, is motivating students to take advantage of the support.

Case in point: On Monday my geometry students took a quiz. Only 10 students achieved more than an 80%. Bad. So I reviewed the answers to the quiz on Wednesday and I am offering a "retake" of the quiz tomorrow during lunch. I told students that I would be available every day during lunch and after school to answer any questions. When I asked students how many students would come to these sessions, about 2/3 of the class's hands shot up. And how many students have actually shown up for help?



I talked to my fifth period class today about aspiration vs. perspiration. They all aspire to do well, but so few of them are actually willing to put in the effort to achieve their goals. It seemed like students were listening (really! I swear!) But still, no one showed up after school. We'll see how many show up to retake the quiz tomorrow. I have high hopes, though I know I shouldn't.

In other recent news, a few weeks ago I had a great time at a polka/beer hall in Jessup. You can read all about Blob's Park (I'm not even kidding, that is actually the name of the place) here at my friend's totally cool food and wine blog. The best part of Blob's Park (seriously, that name is so weird) is that elderly gentlemen ask the ladies to dance. I danced with two such gentlemen and had a great time. So all you Baltimorons should check it out.


Ms.Alisha said...

Ugh. I was just talking to another teacher a few days ago about how sometimes I get really tired of caring so much about students' success when they don't seem to care themselves. I mean, I'll never stop caring - I don't think that'd be possible - but it does get really tiring when we're bending over backwards to help and students don't even meet us 1/4 of the way. I totally understand.

Simon said...

I feel your pain. I offer coach class every single day and students can make up quizzes as many times as they want to for full credit and still, most students don't take advantage. Sometimes kids just need that extra excuse to leave their friends at the end of the day. Or they are genuinely forgetful. One thing you might try is holding something as collateral/reminder for the day like a cell phone or a hat or jacket. That way, the kid has to come back to your room at the end of the day, has an excuse to tell his/her friends and won't forget to come by. Parent contact always helps, too. Good luck!

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