Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Dayton Kitchens, Nov 28, 2012.
Generally speaking, what percentage do you think might be unteachable?
It varies a great deal.
But I think that it is at least 5% but probably no more than 10%.
Get rid of the 1 out of 10 unteachable kids in most schools, and I'm quite certain of a massive increase in learning, morale, and general enjoyment of the school experience in the remaining 90%.
How would you propose getting rid of the 10 percent of kids who are unteachable?
Have you ever taught a class? I did, for a year and a half. And let me tell you what I learned: some students are just there to piss you off, waste your time, and shit up other people's learning time.
If I could remove about 10% of the students I had, everything in the lab would have progressed twice as fast.
There are students I came to loathe. I would look at their name on the paper and KNOW it was going to be a shitty, half-assed attempt at mocking what I'd taught them, instead of a real attempt at a paper.
There are people who are unteachable, and after giving them about a month to straighten up and do their work, I'd spend no extra time with them, because they didn't deserve it. I still answered their questions and went by a strict grading rubric that I really tried to apply without bias. But there were days I wished they'd just drop and quit wasting my time.
In the end, my lab coordinator threw out a massive curve that passed about half the unteachables.
By being honest about grades. None of this bullshit about giving them extra time to turn in missed work. No coddling, no making excuses for them. If they fail, it's on them and their parents, and a teacher should spend no extra time trying to make that person pass unless they have a legitimate reason for sucking so badly.
In a college or university setting, you can be honest about grades and not coddle folks.
I don't know you can do something like that in the high school setting, at least, not when we keep the "high school is mandatory till 16" standard.
Those kids have to go somewhere...
Kids need to be taught responsibility. Out in the 'real' world if they miss work, are late to work, constantly screw up at work, they get fired. If they are taught this in school chances are they learn before they get a job and screw it up.
I've had to fire way to many 18 year olds right out of high school because they can't be at work on time on a consistent basis.
Most of that can be blamed on the parents, and on the non zero tolerance policy in schools these days.
When I went to high school, if you were late for a class, chances are the teacher wouldn't let you in. Maybe once or twice, but constantly? You basically failed the work done that day.
Maybe I'm being cynical since teaching took such a sour turn for me, but nobody ever gets held back a year any more. Why doesn't that happen? I feel like you can hold them back til they straighten up and PASS, or turn 16. Giving them a high school diploma means nothing anyway, it's a useless piece of paper unless you intend to get into college, and those kids certainly don't.
That's not to say you'll grade them unfairly or ignore them. They'd get treated like everyone else, and it'd be on them to pass.
Besides, passing high school ain't hard to do.
Fuck that noise. I didn't need to be in class anyway. They should be glad I came late instead of not at all (and teachers actually WERE glad to have me, b/c I knew what the fuck was going on and engaged them instead of just zoning out).
Mandatory attendance is bullshit anyway. I'm an adult now. You know what I do when there is nothing for me to do in the office?
I don't go to the office. Telework and Flextime for the mother fucking win son!
I get my shit done, going above and beyond. I also work my own hours. Hours which they are currently raising AND paying more for than when I joined 2 months ago.
How do high school classes work in America?
When I was in high school in canada, we didn't do grades exactly. We had three levels of classes available worth 3 or 5 credits each, and to get a diploma you had pass 100 credits worth of courses, including 5 courses at the top level. You could attend school for all three years (I knew some people that stayed for 4 or 5), but if you didn't pass your class, you weren't getting a diploma or moving on to the higher level class for the subject.
If school is setup like that, I have no problem with it. Requires a completely different approach though.
But under the current system, there were/are a lot of students that are slacking because of the lack of 'zero-tolerance' policies.
I saw it happen, and it disrupted class and created un-needed distractions.
It's a good system. It's similar enough to how you'd earn a university diploma, and there are lower-difficulty classes of core subjects for people that just don't have the ability in certain areas.
Now I'm curious about what Americans have.
In Tennessee we have the core 3 years of English (or was it 4?), a couple years of science (biology and physical science required), a couple years of math (I believe Algebra and Geometry are required for graduation), one year of PE, 2 years of foreign language, and a couple electives.
You get those out of the way and the rest is just filling up credits. If the school is big enough, you can take electives in flower arrangements and creative writing to get an easy A. If the school is small, you end up with a lot of generic classes like music and drama, but they get the job done.
Generally you just have to scrape by with a 2.0 GPA out of 4, pass the core classes and get enough credits, and you can graduate.
The problem is when kids get pushed along from one class to another (many people with 3rd grade reading levels get passed up to senior English) just to keep them moving along and pass some sort of state requirement.
What we have varies by school district. Generally, you're expected to graduate in 4 years, no more, no less. In some districts, everyone takes the same brace of courses, with little variation (you can pick your foreign language [if required], science, math, and English courses as well as electives like music and art). There might be different levels for certain courses (like advanced English), but there might not be.
Essentially, we haven't changed how we think about education in most districts in 50+ years. There are exceptions, of course, and many districts are employing "Charter Schools" which are schools that place a particular emphasis on certain areas (like science, or the arts).
Every state is different, but generally there is a list of classes a student is required to take to graduate.
4 English classes.
Math up to Trig.
World History, American History, Civics and Econ.
Biology, Chemistry Physics.
And then a requirement for X other elected classes.
Depending on the school there could be different levels of difficulty. At my HS we had Physics I, Physics II, and AP Physics. AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) are high level classes that have an end of year exam. Pass it and you get college credit for the class (AP is accepted throughout US, IB the world).
It does. Most of the high schools in my area have a policy that you need a minimum number of credits to advance from one grade to the next. One school that didn't, and had previously measured your grade in school by how many years you'd been there, ditched that and adopted promotion standards about two years ago.
You'd be amazed at some of the obstacles kids have in their lives. In my county, which has about 16,000 kids in K-12, about 700 of them are homeless. The stories that teachers and graduation coaches can tell you are heartbreaking. There are 15-year-olds who are the primary caretakers for several siblings... kids who don't know where they're going to be sleeping from night to night ... I even heard of one girl who kept missing school because she had to stay up late with her parents to make sure they didn't OD.
Graduating from high school isn't hard ... when you grow up with good parents in a middle-class household, eating good food and sleeping in your own bed every night.
But those stories are always special circumstances and I've never advocated treating those kids like average kids. If there's extenuating circumstances (see post 66) you can try to help in some way. Those kids are NOT the unteachables. The unteachables are the ones who have families and some sort of stability and choose to throw it all away.
But I also have to wonder if there's anything you can do for a kid that's raising 3 siblings at the age of 15. Their education is pretty much fucked unless they pull some spectacular sleep deprivation and mental acrobatics. I doubt there's any school system in the world equipped to ensure those kids are successful.
How many kids does it have to be before it stops being a special circumstance? It's horrifyingly common ... and I imagine more than one has, at some point, had a teacher simply write them off as "lazy" or "unteachable."
I'm pretty sure a kid raising everyone on their own isn't common all over the country, and even then, it is NOT a school's responsibility to make that kid's life easier. The kid can bring it up with teachers if they like, but it's not the teacher's fault if the kid never speaks up.
Certain accomodations can be made of course, but teachers are just people, not mind readers, and shouldn't be expected to know the circumstances of all their [possibly] hundreds of students.
This isn't even an educational issue. It's an issue of welfare and shit luck, and not something a school is responsible for. Extreme circumstances like 15 year olds being head of the household is far beyond what a teacher can fix.
Is this turning into "no one should be left behind because some people are in shitty situations THAT THE SCHOOL HAS NO POWER OVER"? Because if it is, I'm done here. I already said extenuating circumstances can apply in any system. I can't propose a damn thing a school can do to fix a life so fucked. That is a situation that is entirely between the kid and the school administration, and it's not for me to speak on.
Seriously, unless a kid speaks up and says "I can't finish the homework because [HUGE FUCKING LEGITIMATE EXCUSE]," there's nothing anyone can do and the teachers should rightfully treat the kid just like anyone else.
Thank god there are teachers who don't feel that way.
2010 estimates put the figure at 1.6 million. Schools are often the only stability they have, hence schools are the first line of defense. If it's "not their responsibility," then whose is it?
(Tapatalk screwup was here)
Can you people not read?
I said the school can accomodate any extenuating circumstance, and it's simply UP TO THE KID TO SPEAK UP AND SAY "I NEED HELP."
Otherwise there's absolutely no way for the teacher to know something is wrong. And if you can't read minds, you just assume you have a normal student and move on. There is no way for a teacher to get to know all their students and to pry information about their personal lives on each and every single one. Someone will slip through the cracks and it's not the school's fault.
How hard is that to grasp?
Actually, a teacher who cares enough to pay attention and ask questions can figure out a lot.
But no, it's better just to assume and move on.
These kinds of cornered arguments are why I get so reluctant to post in the red room.
I'm not some evil person out to fail every struggling kid, but you're making me feel like it and I don't like it.
There are obviously some teachers who have a good motherly instinct and can detect these things. But I had several classmates growing up who got disowned, kicked out, or were in foster care, and you'd never know it. No one is perfect and no one can read every mind out there.
My idea is to give everyone an even playing field. Assignments in on time, or points lost. Tests passed, or courses repeated. Special cases fit into that, but only if you reasonably know there is a special case.
I don't see what part of that argument requires you cornering me into feeling like an evil person. It is simply a logical fact of life. You either pass or you don't, and if you need help, you ask for it.
Your POV is not difficult to grasp at all.
And if it's between the kid and the school administration, guess how the school administration learns that something is wrong? Especially considering we're talking about high school students, who are already vulnerable and easily embarrassed, admitting things that a lot of adults would have trouble admitting?
They learn something is wrong because a teacher gave a shit and bothered to find out.
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