Papers are returned.
Scores are in.
Grades are final.
And I am not even thinking about my job again until Monday at 7 am, the precise moment when I have to be there. (No work for me tomorrow. HOLLER!) That's what end of quarter will do to you. I plan to spend the weekend catching up on errands and chores that never get done (like replacing my windshield that's been cracked for six months), celebrating my mother in law's birthday, getting ahead on much neglected blog business and drinking the crap out of hot chocolate.
Oh and sleep. Sleep. Sleep. And more sleep.
And NOW. It's time to play a little game called WHAT WOULD YOU DO?!? The lines in teaching are rarely black and white, rather my life is filled with endless shades of gray. When I was in school, I felt like I knew the answer to everything, knew exactly how to be the best teacher. Now that I find myself immersed with teaching, the lines aren't so clear to me. Here's a couple of situations I've dealt with lately. It's your turn to be the teacher.
1. Every last day of the quarter I do an "extra credit day". Students play word games and earn points in teams. As part of this day, I allow students to bring food, and I give them a few extra points if they do. Yesterday I heard a popular, charismatic jock say that every quarter last year he just waited until someone in the class had checked off their food, then he had "borrowed" it and come and check it off with me again, thus earning extra credit every quarter for food he didn't bring. What would you do?
A. Call the student out in front of everybody for having lied and give him no extra credit.
B. Call off extra credit day completely and tell students that if they are going to take advantage of your kindness they can just work on study guides and not receive extra credit. Ingrates!
C. Confront the student in private and explain that what he did was wrong and he will receive no more extra credit points.
D. Let it slide- it's just a few points.
E. Take all the extra credit points that he earned on extra credit day, but not say anything to the student.
My Answer: E. I didn't have the energy to confront the kid about the situation, but I was still bothered he thought he could trick me like that and get away with it. And especially bothered that he took advantage of my generosity. So I just didn't give him the points.
2. A student is at a 57.8% in my class. 60% is passing. He's a good kid, in class every day, but struggles to get the homework done. He works 40 hours a week at a mechanic shop, helping his family financially, and rarely has time with his work schedule to get homework done. I want to pass him so bad, but he really didn't earn a passing grade. Even WITH extra credit day, he was only at a 57%. What would you do?
A. Give him a few points here and there to put him to passing; it's not going to kill anyone.
B. Allow him to complete an extra assignment, giving him enough points to pass the class.
C. Fail the student. He just didn't complete the work and other students have busted their butts to get to passing grades- it wouldn't be fair to them.
My Answer: C. Before the extra credit he was at a 52% in the class. I figured that with even 5% extra on his grade he couldn't pass, then I shouldn't pull any more strings. Also, if he wanted to pass badly enough, he would have come in earlier and seen what he had to do to pass. But he didn't. So I failed him- but it gave me no pleasure to do so. NO PLEASURE.
3. Minutes before the bell rang today, while cleaning up the soda cups and empty cookie boxes, I noticed one student a bit apart. Everyone else was putting their desks back in place, gathering up their books, and throwing away their garbage. This student was standing awkwardly over by a table with food that had been left from another class. I watched as he stealthily grabbed a bag of BBQ chips, and slid them into his backpack. What would you do?
A. Call him out in front of the class for stealing.
B. Call him out, but make a joke of it, so that he doesn't feel too uncomfortable, "Haha! You almost got away with that! You're good, I'm going to have to hire you to steal pens from the other teachers for me!"
C. Act like you think he did it by accident, "Oh, bud, I think you might've accidentally grabbed a bag of chips with your notebooks and put it in your backpack without noticing."
D. Ask him to stay after class and ask him why he took the food.
E. Nothing. Let him have a $2 bag of chips.
F. Talk to the principal about this and see what the student's home life is like- maybe his family needs some kind of assistance?
My answer: E. I thought about saying something, but I just couldn't. I guess i just felt so gosh darn bad for him.
4. One of my bright,capable students plagiarized his most recent paper. The school policy is anybody who plagiarizes anything gets a zero on that assignment and is sent down to talk to the assistant principal. But this student has always been good for me, and if I give him a zero on the big paper he will fail the class. What would you do?
A. Pretend like you don't notice he plagiarized and just give him a normal score.
B. Give him the bare minimum that he needs on the assignment to pass, but don't give him any extra points.
C. Talk to the student and tell him you will allow him to re-do the assignment for half credit but he better thank the Lord that he has a teacher so nice to let him re-do it.
D. Stick to the school policy, the student knows plagiarism is wrong. His failing grade will help him to remember to never do it again.
My answer: C. I just couldn't fail him for being stupid enough to copy and paste from wikipedia. I know, I'm too soft.
5. Today I was trying to muddle my way through the crowded hallways after school. Somehow I got stuck behind a group of teenage boys having the most foul conversation I have ever heard. It was extremely offensive to women and they were cursing like sailors. I don't have any of these boys for students, nor do I know any of them. School was technically out and I'm not their teacher, but it still bothered me that they were speaking this way. What would you do?
A. Send them right down to the principal's office. It doesn't matter if school is out, they are on school grounds and need to learn not to say stuff like that.
B. Say something like, "Hey guys, cut it out. You're in a public school," and then walk on by.
C. Get their names and send emails to their parents so that the parents are aware of their behavior and let the parents deal with it.
D. Nothing. Although it bothers you, these aren't your students and you can't police the hallways. Plus, you're kind of afraid of them. And embarrassed to have overheard anyone saying such vulgar things.
E. Other: ________________________________________________________________________
My answer: D. I was seriously so bothered by it, but I kind of chickened out when it came to yelling at them for it. Now I really wish I would have said something. Boys shouldn't be allowed to talk like that.
Now it's time for you to share your answers!