Today, I told my students that their Brief Constructed Responses they had completed for homework were steaming piles of crap, and handed them back. And they were crap. Kids giggled at first at my choice of words, but eventually turned ashen and just listened to me as I harangued. I was pretty proud of the ensuing speech, which included my listing of the 5 (out of 25) students who did a citation correctly on the board, as well as the (different) 5 who had an acceptable thesis statement, even though both are the same thing we've been doing all year.
In the middle of it, I decided to start calling out the kids, which is something else I want to do more of. There's just not enough ignominy (today's word of the day) associated with poor performance in my classes. "William," I said, looking through the kid's pupils. "Can you explain to the class what in the world you are thinking when you just decide to make up your own way of citing information? I mean, what is it that makes you write a 'p' and then a period and then the page number and then the author's full name? It's not like the way we cite has changed any. Author's last name and page number. Nothing else. Nothing else. Nothing else. I'm not sure how many times I have to say it. Can you tell me how many times I have to say it before you get it?"
Luckily I picked only kids who I knew could take this sort of thing, and William sheepishly explained the he wasn't thinking. And laughed. That's one thing about my kids - they almost always own up to what they do wrong. I've gotten no blaming from kids about the 45% who failed the first quarter in my classes. I'm clear about my expectations and fair in my adherance.
I then turned to the bespectacled Karah. Sweet girl, about a "C" student right now, works hard but not hard enough. "Karah," I say eyeing her, then seeing her slink in her seat. "You failed your quiz on XYZ quotation implementation a couple of weeks ago. I told the entire class that if any of them still do not understand how to implement a quotation into writing, that you need to learn it through coming to Coach Class. It is now the middle of November and you do not know XYZ and you have not bothered to attend Coach Class. Your BCR demonstrates to me that you still don't have a clue. Why have you not attended a Coach Class? Why? I don't understand. Are you expecting it to just come to you all of a sudden?"
She said, "I'll be there today, Mr. E." And she was. It worked.
I continued for ten minutes, figuring out new ways to say that the kids basically need to pay more attention to what they are doing because they are the first class to have to pass the state test in reading to graduate high school. If they don't know how to write a freaking BCR, they will be left behind. I was happy with my performance and wished my colleague with whom I share a classroom had been in to watch it.
I'm so exhausted that I'm not sure how I'll be able to get up in the morning. Worked tonight. At least I made mad bank. This is a busy week, with a wiffelball game on Monday, work on Tuesday, Center Stage season tickets on Wednesday (which I'm missing both the Dar Williams 8X10 Show and the Blogger Happy Hour for), and the last dodgeball game on Thursday.
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