friday, january 20, 2006

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"Bridge of Wings -
Where He Waits"

Pui-Mun Law

paper background from
© Davide Guglielmo

kids amaze me sometimes, both in a good and not so good way. today's amazement is more along the lines of what they think they can get away with, which isn't a good amazing.

student #1. we've been doing poetry and the kids were to draft a poem which we then workshopped. they were to revise it then turn it in as a more polished poem. this kid had a good grade on his poem. at least until another student turned same said poem for an analysis assignment and there was another author listed.

definitely not a good amazing.

to make matters worse, he claims he didn't understand the assignment. he thought it was an assignment where he was to rewrite a poem and change the words and explain how those changes changed the poem. problem is, he had already turned in that assignment and i was able to point it out to him. i most certainly didn't ask for the assignment twice. and when we workshopped the poems and discussed what changes were to be made, he acted as if said poem was his as well. and, finally, there was no indication of the real author on the piece he turned in.

he understood what he was doing. he just had to save his butt because his mother is one of the most involved parents i've seen among the kids i teach. and she came in for a conference immediately when told of the situation. it's been made clear to one and all, again, that plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in 0's.

not that this would deter student #2 much.

for the past week and a half, my classes have been warned that today would be the last day for any of my work to be turned in. wednesday, the teacher i'm subbing for confirmed that she would not be taking any of my work late, so indeed, today was it. almost every day this week they've had at least some time to work on missing assignments, plus they've had 2 "work days" specially set aside for catching up and working on upcoming projects.

student #2 is a problem student for me: argumentative, disruptive, can't sit in his seat or pay attention to save his life, and has literally done no work. the only grade he has that isn't a 0 is an in class, group work assignment.

knowing that i have at least half a dozen other students that need to catch up in the class, i made arrangements for him to go to another room. when he went into said room, i asked him if he had the work he needed to get done and he said yes. so, at the end of the period, i asked him if he had anything to give me. of course not! (not like i expected him to, honestly.) and when i tell him that means he's stuck with what he's got, he started to protest. this kid honestly expected me to give him yet another day!

honestly, most the kids that are failing already have shot themselves in the foot. not much i can do after giving so much time for them to get work in. and i'm tired of being frustrated with them. really. i even have student #3 who i've written up for being awol from my class. his 4th period teacher emailed all his other teachers asking for them to send in work, so i checked his period attendance. mine was the only class he'd been absent from over the last week and a half.

really, i'm glad this is almost over. there are some amazingly good kids in these classes (most of which are in my 6th period, but there's a smattering of them in the others - like student #4 who was absent the first week of classes and had all her work in by her 3rd day back, with an 'a' even!), but i just don't particularly like working in the high schools. in some ways, i'm amazed i've made it through the assignment (okay, so i have 3 days left, but it's not like i'm going to call in sick when we really need the money).

i am soooo looking forward to my 2 days of sleep next week. and not getting up at 5 a.m. and being able to write again. assuming i have any ideas after all my brain cells have been leached away by this assignment. and the energy to actually act on them. if i have either before the end of next weekend, i will be truly amazed.

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Since July 9, 2000

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