Thursday, January 7, 2016

Day 76: Re-center

Yesterday was not a great day for me.  It wasn't just stuff at school, but since this blog is about schools, that's where I was focused.

I got home last night, took a shower, kissed my kids and got in bed with a book.  I meant to go to sleep early, but I was enjoying the feeling of reading in bed and ended up almost finishing the book.  I woke this morning feeling rested and better.

Yesterday and today were the last days of standardized testing (for this week).  This means that I didn't see 4 of my 5 Astronomy classes.  The one remaining class that I saw, I decided to push back the chapter assessment to Friday for all of the classes.  This means that my 6th period had 2 extra class days to work on the various assignments that they needed to turn in.

Several students took advantage of the opportunity.

I had a conversation with my colleague again this morning.  He read the post yesterday and wondered if it was about him.  It was.  Hi!

Comments from him, as well as several people who posted on the blog and sent me messages last night, gave me some of my confidence back.  He reminded me that the majority of my students are not taking Astronomy because they are interested in Astronomy, but rather because they have failed the majority of their previous science courses and need the credit to graduate.

We were discussing how there are deep systemic issues involved and how, with 28% of my students not turning in assignments, that's actually very low for this course.

While this doesn't make it acceptable, it makes it a little more understandable.  I hate the idea that if we would just make our classes a little more interesting, a little more involved, then we could somehow convince every one of our students to succeed.

This concept does a disservice to our abilities as teachers and it dishonors the interests and desires of our students.

If I were forced to take a class on the benefits of sitting in a doctor's waiting room, my reaction would probably similar.  I can't imagine any way that a teacher could make me care enough about it to put any more effort in than "passing."

**Confession: In writing that last part, I kept trying to think of boring things and kept thinking "Actually, that would be pretty interesting."**

I did, however, have an excellent time with my Physics kids today.  We've started talking about Newton's 3rd Law, which is arguably the most confusing.

So I drew turtles.

They understand my addictions.

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