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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Senior Capstone - WTF?

I have mixed emotions about my new third period senior capstone class. On the one hand, I generally enjoy the kids and they respect me. I come down incredibly hard on kids at the beginning of every class now. I'd learned to do that prior to moving to DC, but DC has taught me to do it even more.

"You will NOT be late to my class."

"I do NOT accept late work or disrespect"

"Anyone who has a problem with any of my expectations can make an appointment with me after school, and anyone who violates any of my expectations will be spending time cleaning the building during Saturday school."

I say all of these things with direct eye contact and a confident voice.

After the front I put on, I spend time getting to know the kids. I'm always asking them what they want to do when they graduate, what their favorite kind of music is, what country they were born in, what languages they speak, and so on. So I feel like I balance out the respect with the relationships fairly well, but I don't think I really needed to be such an ass with these capstone kids right off the bat. They're pretty respectful and compliant. I even got two of them to do forty push-ups for being late to my class today. I wouldn't have forced it. The students actually suggested it as an alternative consequence to staying after school, which was awesome because now the rest of the kids are scared to be late because they'll have to do push-ups.

So the respect I'm getting is the good part.

On the other hand, practically everyone I go to for help on how to teach this class skirts around the issue. I've told multiple administrators and teacher mentors that I have no idea what I'm doing as this class was thrown at me last minute, and the responses I get are usually something like..

"Yeah, that's tough. You'll pull it off though; I've heard you're a great teacher. I'm sure you can handle it."

Then they run away to avoid the conversation.

Awesome.

So I make something up every day and continue to build rapport with the kids. All I can say at this point is that I better not get evaluated during third because I'll have some serious words for my admins if their lack of support leads me to a low score on IMPACT.

2 comments:

  1. "You will NOT be late to my class."

    "I do NOT accept late work or disrespect"

    "anyone who violates any of my expectations will be spending time cleaning the building during Saturday school."

    Are these demands you can actually enforce?

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  2. Not 100%. It depends on the student, the situation, and the expectation, but I think it's important to let students know that those are your expectations, despite your ability to provide consequences or rewards for their ability to abide by them at all times.

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