nobody’s perfect

November 21, 2007

I’ve had exactly two successful classes with the kids I see once a week for Regents’ tutoring. They don’t get grades for the tutoring, so they don’t care, and I only see them once a week so I’m not great with their names/personalities/needs. It’s a terrible class. I admit that. I am terrible at teaching it, and they are terribly behaved.
Today we played Jeopardy! (always my favorite multiple-choice review method). I love listening to the teams whisper angrily “No, stupid, she said Meiji Restoration, that’s when they modernized!” It gets me all giddy when I can hear them remembering what I’ve taught. So that’ll be something nice to take with me over break when I grade 140 essays. (Please kill me.)



in this, my time of grading

October 23, 2007

By the way, if there happen to be any new high school teachers reading this, here is one of my best tricks for getting kids to succeed: talk to the boyfriend/girlfriend.

I find that very often a kid who is bombing my class will be dating someone who is aceing my class, and if I can get them both in the room at the same time after school, the one who is doing well will yell at the one who is bombing for me. I just casually say “[Stephanie], you know this boy has never handed in any homework, right?” and she will get totally indignant and lecture him and often promise me that she will check to make sure he hands everything in from now on. I have to remind her every few weeks, but it has consistently moved kids up from F’s to C’s in my class, and a couple of times even gotten them to pass the Regents. (“What do you mean, she never handed in a practice essay? I saw her writing it! Miss, I’m gonna go get that for you right now!”)

It works with friends, sometimes, too, but there’s less internal motivation for a kid to do well for his friends; there’s tons of motivation to not look stupid in front of your girlfriend.