Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another long and frustrating day, which seems to be the norm lately.....

2nd hour geometry leaves me overwhelmed. The multitude of steps to remember to solve the problems, with their ever increasing complexities, are simply too much for many students to remember. When you are still struggling with the basics, the trig functions themselves, basic algebra, understanding/remembering a triangle's angles add to 180 degrees, etc.... Trying to use the apothem and perimeter to find the area of a hexagon is simply too much to tackle. But the reality is, these kids MUST master it, and master it by the end of the marking period, the end of the course, whatever. It is a constant uphill race of information slamming into them, day after day and I feel inadequate to help them, as the hill grows ever steeper and the pace quickens.

3rd hour - For the most part, we've finally found our groove and the work gets done. I can manage to keep zipping from student to student, prodding, pointing and keeping them going. I can keep them on task and working towards their goals for the day in most cases. Of course, there are always exceptions... the one girl who is worried about her upcoming hearing for probation, and the court ordered community service she will be doing. The other young man who got in trouble at home so is now grinding his pencil to a stub into his table.The one who won't/can't open his book to the correct page without constant supervision. The other one who is several assignments behind in several classes for a variety of reasons, but is suddenly wanting to get caught up so needs everything RIGHT NOW. The one who needs help with systems of equations but struggles to balance a 1 step equation. The one who is mad because he lost his computer privileges. The one who brings nothing to class and refuses to go get anything. The one who is researching Alaska for a project on the Iditarod, but thinks she can simply google the questions and find the answer, so that is what she does - and writes whatever pops up in google on the first link as her answer. The one who needs help with every single worksheet question of his history assignment. The one who left early because he was throwing up. AND, AND, AND..... our groove we've found in Guided Study is more like a razor blade riddled rut. But we're making it....

4th hour - Compass Learning for math should be easy. But again, one issue after another crops up. Either students click, click, click.. as fast as they can through a lesson, take that darned quiz at the end and are done... or they refuse to wear headphones, refuse to even try... or they spend the hour belching and farting, trying to be irritating as possible to those around them. I would honestly rather TEACH them math than do it on Compass. It is such a waste of time. Maybe when a motivated high school student is using Compass for credit recovery, and has some vested interest in their own success, maybe it can function as an alternative math program. But for this group, it is largely a waste of time. The only advantage I see is students are at their own level, instead of me trying to meet them in the middle somewhere and having them all floundering. I know that Compass is an individualized program but unless students are individually motivated for success, the chances of success with it are nil.

I'm just tired of the games, tired of the no accountability on the part of students, parents, anyone but me, for their success. I am one person. ONE PERSON. I cannot make them learn. I cannot make them want to learn. I cannot make them come to school. When they are here, I can try to help them, try to encourage them, try to find ways to individually spark their interest in learning. But my magic wand is out of fairy dust, long out of fairy dust.

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