Today was progress report day. I gave each and every student a print out showing learning targets and their progress towards meeting them (aka did you do your assignments). It was a huge hubbub and I’m now officially the most unpopular teacher at school. The kids were in a tizzy and I even had 2 students storm outside for a break in the hall to collect themselves. It’s appalling to me how many students come to school every day and still manage to complete absolutely zero assignments – no classwork, no lab, no quizzes, and most definitely no homework. For some reason or another (I’m still mulling it over), this quarter has been an especially bad one. In one class out of 30 students, only 7 have a passing grade or higher. That means even if I “discount” students who never show up, I’m maintaining a 30% passing rate. I have an abysmal HW return rate – they just don’t do it. I also expect students to not only do their work, but to do it well and according to the guidelines of the assignment. I don’t give credit for “effort”, meaning if I ask about osmosis and they scratch something out about Osmosis Jones, I don’t take it.
So this begs to question, “What am I doing wrong!?” By the end of my third section of Living Environment class, I’d fallen into a pit of self-doubt. After all, if so many kids are failing, it MUST be me and NOT them. I’m doing something wrong, I need to change something. Is that true? Or have I been brainwashed by all the anti-teacher rhetoric floating around out there? These grades (or lack of grades, rather) has weighed heavily on me all day, so I went searching for answers. I gave my classes time to air grievances and make comments, I conferenced with my co-teacher and I even sought advice from my administrator (“let me think about that one…”). This is what I learned today:
Student #1: “You grade too hard miss! I struggle in all my classes, but yours way more than others!”
Student #2: “You’re too strict! I worked so hard on this and you still only gave be a 2.1 (we use standards based grading where 1=not meeting the learning target, 2=approaching the target, 3=meets the target and 4= excels at the learning target)!
Student #3: “You give too much work!”
Student #4: (to another student, right in front of me) “I can’t even listen to her talk right now, I’m too pissed. Ugh, she needs to just shut up!”
Student #5 “WHAT? This is mad f-ed up! I do all my work!”
-I should have other teachers grade my lab reports and compare scores. Maybe I am too strict with grading. I use a rubric, which the kids have a copy of. Maybe I need to ease up on sticking to it.
-I need to ease up on assigning homework, and/or I should not count all of them, just some.
-The kids thought I was laughing at them sinisterly when in fact I was trying to force a smile while they were all voicing their discontent. My uncomfortable smile apparently = evil I’m-out-to-get-you laugh. Crap.
-I just need to ease up in general.
In my defense, this is how I help support my kids academically with their work:
-I scaffold the shit out of every assignment I give by outlining reports for them, giving them graphic organizers, vocabulary instruction, etc. I practically hold their hands through every assignment. My co-teacher even created a “fill in the blank” lab report for my SPED (special-ed) and ELL (English language learners)!
-I give written feedback on every assignment I hand back.
-I’m available at any hour of the day for tutoring or help in person, over email or even by phone. The kids have all my info, for real.
-I allow practically unlimited time for turning in assignments. I accept any and all late work up until the day before grades are due.
-I allow for revisions: If a kid is not happy with his/her grade, they can revise their work (based on my feedback) and re-submit it.
-I assign work that is within their reach with realistic timelines (I think), such as “write a paragraph on whether or not the BRCA gene should be patented, using my given topic sentence”.
So, what do you guys think? What do I need to change? How can I up my passing rates without compromising my ethics and just pushing kids through? My grade team had a discussion around broken grading practices and how to fix them last monday. I need to continue the discussion. Please help.
In the meantime, here’s what I wore today, pencil in hair, sinister smile and all.
shirt: madewell – belt: j.crew – jeans: bdg – socks: juicy couture (gift from my sister years ago) – boots: steve madden – necklace: my popo via mommy
This dress hasn’t been worn since this post, last year, and my has time flown by. It’s still winter around here, so tights alone were not enough. Thus the socks over – just enough added warmth, and a way to wear thigh-highs without feeling like Cher Horowitz.
dress: anthropologie (old) – cardigan and tights: uniqlo – high socks: asos – boots: steve madden
I was happy to be back in SF last week, but I’m also happy to be home. It was a week filled with friends and also included a three day snowboarding side trip in Tahoe (the kids picked up on the irony of heading to Cali to find snow – I got a lot of comments on that today). There really is nothing like San Francisco air (except maybe the water!). Spring break is already around the corner, and I’ll be getting another breath of fresh air when Aimee comes to visit!
This wrinkly top is an old one from Madewell. I have a slight obsession with the color (burnt sienna?), but the material seems to harbor smells. TMI?
glasses: warby parker – sweater: uniqlo – blouse: madewell – tank (underneath) & jeans: f21 – boots: steve madden – belt: j.crew – necklace: my mom’s hand-me-down
Is there a better day than today for some SF love? I don’t normally watch/care about football. But today I’m rooting for the team from my hometown, the San Francisco 49ers. That is, until they become the Santa Clara 49ers. Happy sunday, everyone. Here’s hoping SF fan’s don’t burn down the city tonight.
necklace: unicorn crafts – tshirt: h&m – jeans: bdg – boots: steve madden
Brooklyn is having a warm couple of days – it’s practically a winter heat wave at 55˚F! This ‘warm’ weather comes right on the heels of about an inch of snow just 2 days ago. I’m just happy to have a break from my snow/rain boots. I just bought this dress online from Urban Outfitters. It came out a really long time ago (a year maybe?) and I loved it right away when I saw it. I did not love the price tag on the other hand, so I waited. And waited. And waited. Just about everything goes on sale eventually at UO, especially if it’s an ‘online only’ item like this dress was. When the price finally dropped down to one I was willing to pay ($50) I ordered it right away. I’m glad I did too! The dress is made by Sessun a french line carried by UO stateside, but also available through ASOS. I love this brand – so frenchie chic. This dress garnered many compliments, including “Your dress looks like it’s slinging Pepsi!”.
I love how some dresses can be winter-ized by just adding a few things. This dress, I’ve taken from the balmy crisp SF weather, through to hot muggy Brooklyn summer, straight into the dry freeze-your-ears-off Brooklyn winter. All it takes is the addition of a scarf, wooly tights, cardigan and suede booties. Of course, there was a coat involved, but I left it off while inside. Dress, during summer last seen here. Next time, I’ll have to remind myself to use a few more squirts of Static Guard
scarf: topshop – cardigan and belt: j.crew – dress: f21 – tights: h&m – booties: steve madden
When booties are your jam, you tend to stock pile them. Part one of my closet basics round up, the bootie.
I picked up my newest addition to the group this past week when J.Crew was having their 30% off sale items promotion. I “needed” a brown bootie in my collection. When I got them, my sister exclaimed that “they look exactly same as all the other shoes you have!” to which I replied, “no they don’t, they’re totally different! They’re brown!”
If I were not such a sucker for shopping and spending my hard earned teacher cash, I’d be more realistic and be fine with having one pair of boots that go with everything. But no, I’m a product of this consumerist American society, so I have 10 – all well worn and in constant rotation. We all have that one (or many) thing that we get sucked into right? Well, the first of my many things is…the bootie. I like small booties and I can not lie.
top, then grid in order of age: j.crew aggie boot – anthropologie inclined chelsea boot - zara studded cowboy ankle boot – ecote alexandra suede ankle boot - anthropologie woven clog booties – steven by steve madden noahh boot - dv by dolce vita jamison boot – boutique 9 cooper boot – nine west – bp from nordstrom
It’s vacation and I should be grading lab reports. Instead, I’ve been lounging, cooking and eating. Lab reports can wait, I guess. I got myself a new bag – a wannabe Alexander Wang bucket bag for a small fraction of the price. Thanks to “fast fashion”, I can indulge in designer aesthetics without the designer price point. Considering I’ll probably get sick of this bag within the year and just go back to my trusty Freitag tote anyway, I’m cool with the semi cheap-o construction and materials.
Two days later and things are going much better. Then again, I see ‘that class’ again tomorrow (first time since monday), so ask me again how things are later. I think I have a game plan though, and it’s called “space”. I’m giving those boys space and in return, they’re going to give me space. At least, that’s how it’s working out for me in my head. In the mean time, I’m up for some brightness in my life. So I color blocked my day with a neutral and a hot red pepper color. That’s me – neutral for the most part, but sometimes I turn into a hot pepper and get angry.
glasses: salt (old) - circle scarf: topshop – cardigan: j.crew – belt: gap (old) – dress: some cheapo no name from tobi.com – tights: uniqlo heattech (so warm!) – booties: steven by steve madden (on sale!)
I have a good number of Eastern European/Cental Asian students this year, coming from countires such as Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Tajikistan. Many of them speak limited/survival English at best, but they all speak Russian. So it’s been a struggle teaching them biology…in English. I rely on using pictures to illustrate concepts, using vocabulary charts and other students to fill in the blanks. Today, I learned a new Russian word, which I have been using probably all too often to describe everything. домашняя работа (domashnyaya rabota), which means homework, as in “Unless you can tell me right now what the ‘Z-scheme’ is in photosynthesis, I can tell you straight copied your domashnyaya rabota from the internet.” That’s right. Do your domashnyaya rabota!!
This corduroy pea coat has been a staple in my closet for the past 6 years at least. I got it ages and ages ago from the Gap, way back when my old roommate Lori worked there. Its the best cut ever – boxy in the body but slim in the arms. So you have room to move and layer underneath, but you don’t end up looking like Popeye the Sailor Man with huge arms.