Confused kids

Date August 7, 2008

The projects surround the summer reading are beginning to come due, and as that happens I get more worried, frantic questions. Some I’ve answered 200 times already and some are better asked. Some students are confused between the two books, and sometimes I become confused too. The nonfiction is tied to the analysis, while the fiction book has the sources and test. Today the sources are due in class, and some students understand where we’re headed with this better than others. I hope by the weekend, everyone is on track. We also assigned their first group project of the year, and from the past, I recall that it’s always a rocky process — having your grade based off a group. Some of these kids are so use to being the only one to do all the work in a group that either students fight for control over the assignment or drop the ball all together. In the next two days, they will have samples that shows them exactly how the project looks, but every year there are groups who don’t follow the formatting at all. Just don’t. I am not sure why, since we’re very clear about the format.

Then there’s the other (I hope smaller group!) who really hasn’t read their books. Some of them haven’t even begun their books at all. Sure maybe one of them, but we are working with both simultaneously. If they don’t do the fiction, they hurt their peers grades in the group project and blow the test. If they don’t do the nonfiction, their earn a zero on the first major paper of the year, and then the parents and I both are concerned. Yes, I read fast now, and they tell me “‘course you can read fast, Adams. You’re an English teacher!” But lemme tell you… when I was your age, I read, too. I was never given 6 weeks to read anything, and I got it done.

I am sure for the most part, they will come through. Most will do ok on the projects, paper, and test, and some will falter. Some will fail. Some will have calls home, and, unfortunately, some will try to drop as they get the first low grades of some of their educational lives. We strive forward, do what we can, educate kids.