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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hooray for Administrators Who Ask and Listen!

The second semester duty schedule came out today, and instead of telling my students that I can't be available Mondays after school because I am supervising detention, I can tell them I'm available in the library every day during sixth period. (And Mondays after school.) Hooray!


  1. This isn't actually related to the post, sorry. I found your blog the other day and have been reading it and it looks like you've got a fairly good footing when it comes to kids and math, so I thought I'd pose a question for you. I have a Foundations of Algebra class - 12 freshmen and 1 senior - and they have been getting really bad lately about taking anything seriously. We just got done with a unit on probability and odds. They seemed to understand the concepts really well at first and were able to do the homework a lot better than I had expected. They really blew me away with how well they did on the homework as a class. But then we got to the test and nobody would take it seriously. Very few students paid any attention during the review - 2 days - and then during the test the talking was so ridiculous that to start giving out zeros would literally mean giving 8/13 of my class zeros. That didn't really seem like the solution. Looking over what students had done after the first day, they were horrible and it was like the information just disappeared over night. I am trying to come up with some kind of way to test these kids so that they'll take it seriously and have an adequate opportunity to show me what they've learned. I just thought that I would post you a little comment to see if I could pick your brain for some ideas.

  2. Hm, well, I'm flattered that you think you might find help here. I also find that sometimes it's hard to get freshmen to knuckle down, but I also haven't had much trouble with kids not taking tests seriously, even in lower-level classes. I'm trying to think of things that seem to focus students' attention.

    Is there an easy way you can give them regular updates about their current grade? Like a weekly or biweekly printout, a day or two before each test? It could just be their overall average, or show individual assignment scores, so they can also see what assignments are missing.

    Also, maybe think about changing your seating arrangements for tests? I normally have my students seated at desks in pairs, but for test days I rearrange it so that no one is sitting immediately next to another student. This is to avoid the temptation to cheat, but it might also make it harder for them to talk.

    I hope that helped, but I also know there is plenty of experience that wanders through this blog, so maybe others will add on.

  3. Thanks. I was also talking to another teacher in my school yesterday and we kind of worked out a new seating chart that might help, so we'll see how that works. As far as grade printouts, we use a program called PowerSchool, so I can always show them their grade in about two seconds, and they ask me constantly. Hopefully this situation will wear off. If not, I don't know what I'll do. Maybe I'll switch to botany... ;)


Hi! I will have to approve this before it shows up. Cuz yo those spammers are crafty like ice is cold.