Friday, October 15, 2010

Ask me no questions, I'll give you no excuses ...

Sorry about missing last week. I won't offer a reasoning, suffice to say, life turned into a chaotic mess.

Now, onward to this week. : )

As some of you know, I am student teaching this semester. And I have to say, some of these kids are about to kill me.

Let me back up a minute. I love my kids, really I do. I have started to hear about books they love, and TV shows they watch, and even some of the BFF's and the things they do on the weekends. They are starting to accept my limited presence in their lives. Some are even asking about how I am.

So the ones who just seem to roll into class, no homework to turn in, who sit there glassy eyed all block (an hour and a half long) waiting for the bell to ring and they can show the first sign of animation as they bolt out of the classroom as if the room were on fire, are really starting to get to me. (I should also mention, I am teaching high school Biology and Earth Science).

I ask where their homework is, and get an excuse.

I ask why they weren't paying attention, and get an excuse.

I ask anything, and there is a ready and quickly delivered excuse.

For these students, I want to shout OWN UP TO YOUR MISTAKES! You forgot to do your homework, fine. You forgot it at home, fine. Don't give me some lame-ass, whimpy attempt at a reasoning why you should be special and get to turn it in tomorrow. At least be creative - an alien came down last night and snatched you up right after school and didn't return you until five minutes before school started. And they returned you dressed in fresh school clothes. There I could give 'Give-A'Shit points" if nothing else. Cause you gave a shit enough to make up something creative.

I have never heard so many excuses in my life, and some of the other kids are starting to get pissed off too. Why should they get special treatment if I bust my ass to turn stuff in on time? Um, they don't. At least not from me. I can guarantee that much.

The few students who even have legit excuses where I would make allowances, they just don't ask. They man up, and if they don't have stuff done, well, they just don't. I've offered opening to some of them and they don't take the bait.

I am getting so sick of excuses ... at least, the ones that aren't creative. I would probably give points at this point in time if they just cared enough to give a wildly out there excuse.

Zombies. Yeah, something with zombies would be great.

Ohhhhh, or they got so wrapped up in the few first seasons of Law and Order that they just HAD to do a two day marathon of the episodes.

Wait, then I might be pissed they didn't invite me.

Ah well ...

... that's my excuse, and I am sticking to it.


  1. The one thing I've learned about working with teenagers is that they will drown your soul in misery if you let them. It's a painful, painful effort, but the only way to survive intact is to let the ones who really don't care and never will no matter how awesome your subject matter is just roll off your back, and take your satisfaction from the ones who will take something from what you give them, and use it to somehow enrich their lives. The ones you *can* reach deserve that much, don't they?

    I feel your pain!

  2. Michelle - you know that it's the strict teachers that most student secretly adore, don't you? It's like a badge of merit to do well in their class and to survive it.

  3. Michelle,

    You and I are both having the same level of fun this year, aren't we?

    Great post,


  4. I taught high school--a long time ago--and loved it. No, it wasn't that kids were good back then, it was probably that I taught photography in a fine arts high school. I heard some of the teachers who taught academic subjects didn't have as much fun as the artists did. Go figure.

    But my advice would be to love all the cool stuff about them and do your best to get them interested and not knock yourself out over the ones who refuse to participate.

    And beg them for more imaginative excuses!

  5. Hey, Michelle,

    I wonder what would happen if you came right out and told them their excuses were boring?

    The other comments definitely resonate. I get so frustrated by some of my students, the ones that don't show up for class at all, or who obviously don't understand the material at all and yet despite my pleas for them to come see me or the TA, never show up. I hate failing students...but what can I do?

    Anyway, have fun when you can!

  6. Madeline,

    Certainly the ones who care, the ones who will let me reach them, deserve everything that I have to give.

    We have it pounded into us that every student deserves a chance, and they do. But what they fail to show us how to deal with is when we have given every student a chance and they toss it back in our faces. I want a class dealing with that.


  7. Kathleen -- Oh yeah. : ) I am very familiar with that one. My mentor teacher was formerly a middle school teacher, and being former military before that, takes no crap. Some of the students had her in middle school and they don't remember butting heads and all, they just adore her. Course they aren't too happy with me, but some are starting to come around.


  8. Ashley -- Seems like it. : ) Next we need to plan our commitment ceremony. Mine will be following my commencement ceremony, after drinks and finger foods.


  9. D L -- Thanks! I really do want to put a sign up that says be creative in your excuses or don't offer them. LOL

    When I have my own classroom, I will have a sign up that says Leave the whining in the hallways, or No whining Zone.


  10. Lisabet -- Quarter just ended, which is why I am just now responding to comments, and I am appalled at the failure rate so far. My mentor teacher didn't bat an eye, but 1 in 6 failing at mid-semester? In a required to graduate class? Holy crap!



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