Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Notes Taken During School Hours Today.
8:42 a.m.
I point out to the students to read Tuesday’s Class Notes. Right now at 8:38, five students are asleep on their desk, three students are writing, and most others are on their phones. I have no idea if any of them are reading from the website, such as the Class Notes, or maybe even reading Blood at the Root.
Right now this class has 6 E’s, (failing grade), 13 D’s, (these come with many asterisks, (*), 6 C’s, and 1 B.
Writing, yes, but….
A student turned in a written response to prompt # 18, Who’s your friend? The writing has nothing to do with the prompt. Instructions are provided by clicking on yesterday’s date, but this student apparently did not seek that information out, so the response has nothing to do with the “assignment.” This page will be recorded as Topic of your Choice, but not for Prompt # 18.

Here’s an idea.
Email the teacher a quick message during the first fifteen minutes of your class hour on Thursday, and receive compensation.
NOTE: Just received another paper on Who’s Your Friend, again, this paper has nothing to do with the topic. Do not simply look at the prompt and begin writing; open the prompt from Tuesday, and read what this assignment is actually about. There is a lot more to this Opportunity than the title suggests.
And another first hour has passed, two papers were submitted (both off-topic) and now when will these students do their writing?
9:07 a.m.
Let’s see what gets done second hour. There is more noise in the classroom, these guys are awake. After the strong suggestion to read the Calendar News, many students are on their phones, what are they looking at? I could get up and walk around and check their phones….
Whenever I was off-task, I had a convenient method to deceive the teacher whenever he or she came near, so it lies with the integrity of the student.
Also, why write now? “I have plenty of time”, he said.
For second hour, we have 8 E’s, 9 D’s, 8 C’s, 1 B, 1 A.
My guess is that many students will pass the course. (With our grading policy, it is possible to pass the course by doing only 15% of the work. In attempting to support the students, has the administration put into place a grading policy that teaches Learned Helplessness, and little else? Why aren’t students prepared for college? Have our fearless leaders prepared a bed for us so comfortable that we have little motivation to do much of anything at all? (See prompt # 19).That is not guidance and support; that is enabling and it ain’t good.
So second hour has a litany of colorful personalities, particularly fellows, who will mature (metamorphose?) into dynamic young men. In the meantime, will they write and share their ideas?
Not right now. Right now I hear the constant shuffle of cards from somewhere in the back row, and occasional random conversations, as well as one student who wrote about a person he emulates, (writing about the person serves as an extra paper, not prompt # 18. For that, if the person you emulate cannot address the class, you may video the person as well, (a list of questions for the speaker will help guide the talk).
[The student who brought that to my attention will receive NOT EXTRA CREDIT! (See Thursday, March 23, 2017 footnote 2).

And now it’s 10:31
Just had a nice conversation with a student. This student has a deck of cards on him. He asked him, “What do you think administration would say if we learned how to play poker in here?”
He responded enthusiastically, “That would be great! Poker teaches you lots of things, math, people skills, strategizing, but the administration does not allow any card playing at all.” The guards are directed to assume that all card-playing is gambling and therefore is not allowed.
The teacher is not encouraging gambling, only stating that with all of the adult acceptance of gambling,
Las Vegas commercials, state lotteries, online gambling, local gambling parlors, (Dotty’s, Betty’s), and of course sports gambling as promoted by ESPN and other mainstream sources. Why don’t you just exhale smoke into their faces while commanding them not to smoke, or hold a beer in your hand while commanding them not to do drugs, (What is a beer if it is not a drug?).
So engaging in this activity in the classroom-rather than censoring it—could be used to lessen its magnetism through a pragmatic education.

In the meantime, it is now 10:45 and third hour is here.
The teacher restated that THE BIG TEST is tomorrow, they ought to use the time to learn the essays, but by the sound of the class, the teacher wonders how many will be ready. He suspects not many—perhaps they have their own study habits the teacher does not understand. He will learn tomorrow if such study habits exist.
The teacher continues to watch students work on their APUSH, (feeling somewhat insulted, Hey! Why aren’t you studying English? What does APUSH (Advanced Placement U.S. History) that we don’t have?

Ah, structure and simplicity. The English teacher has been told, “What we do in APUSH is take the information from the book and write it down over here, then we turn it in for credit.” It sounds a lot like, “Take the box from that shelf there and place it in this drawer here and I will pay you five dollars.” A person will develop muscles (skills) by doing so, but are these the critical-thinking skills necessary for college or skills asked of that worker who is very good at doing what he is doing so long as he is told what to do?

“That teacher is so relaxed; he lets us do whatever we want. What an easy class!
Third hour has 1 E, 8 D’s, 5 C’s, 4 B’s, 0 A’s, and 4 I’s (Incompletes). [Note: I’s are likely to increase because ALL CA’s must be above a 0.9 grade and there are 10 C and D grades that will be reverting to Incompletes due to less than a 1.0 an any CA1 or CA2 grade, got that?

1:20 in the Afternoon
So for fifth hour, the teacher showed the students his comment about APUSH and asked for feedback. He was told that what is considered a successful route, transferring all of that information the night before a test helps to recall that information for the test. The teacher was told that the test is designed to score for recall. The English teacher explained that for AP Language and Composition, the test is designed to assess reading skills, not merely recall.

Fifth hour grades are 0 E’s, 4 D’s, 4 C’s, 6 B’s, 1 A, and 6 I’s with 12 students passing grade soon to revert to an I because of a low CA score. It’s the essays, folks, yup. It all boils down to sheer grit.

Boy, isn’t this a noisy class? I hear the crinkle of chip bags, casual conversations, well, here, have a listen for yourself.
And their grades are thus: 1 E, 5 D’s, 4 C’s, 6 B’s, 3 A’s, and 6 I’s, with 6 passing grades to become I’s over break unless resolved. So again, it is the teacher’s understanding that most of these students are practicing techniques they have garnered from The Procrastination’s Handbook: How to pass the course without learning more than necessary.
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