My students have actually proven to me that there is a new low... A couple of weeks ago, one of my "ex-cons" figured out just how hard I'm working to try to get the little bastard to pass all his classes. In history class, I YET AGAIN gave him copies of assignments he lost/threw away and jotted down the page numbers where he could find each and every answer if he bothered to crack open the book and look for keywords. He watched me as I flipped through the book, scribbling the page numbers in the margin of his papers.
"Ms. TeacherLady, you work harder than I do."
"I know. You can change that any time you feel like it. Really."
"I should do nothing next quarter so you'll have a lot more work to do."
"Er, no, you'll just fail again. AND make me tired. Neither of which is very pleasant."
He's still failing history.
Another student decided he would come to school twice a week on average, so I did everything short of sending smoke signals to his non-responsive home to no avail. Since he's another one of my "ex-cons", I decided to pull the bigs guns and call his parole officer. He started coming to school a lot more often after that, albeit late for most of the mornings for the first week and a half after my conversation with his P.O. I took what I could get. The next step was to keep him from sleeping in class. I've basically figured that one out, I prod him and give him work to do which he usually plods through at a tortoise's pace, but with surprising accuracy. Next step, he needed to actually bring stuff to school... Like pens, pencils, paper, books, etc. I gave him some supplies at the start of the year (well, when he got out of prison and came to me) but he had lost them. So this time, I bought an official school bag and filled it with useful supplies. He seemed quite excited by his new bag and even more excited at my promise to buy him a McDonald's lunch if he brought his bag to each of his classes three consecutive days. Very excited. He already put in an order of three cheeseburgers. I said "Sure, whatever it takes, buddy."
The very next day, he lost his bag. He found it during his last class and promptly left it there to rot for the following day. Out of the four remaining days of the week, he had it with him once. The following week, the offer still stood and I pleaded with him to give me the opportunity to buy him lunch. He had it two days in a row (I turned a blind eye to the one English class he didn't have it) and then decided to skip all his classes on the third day. On the fourth day, he asked me when I was going to buy him his lunch and was irate when I said he hadn't done the full three days in a row. He didn't think I was going to count the day he skipped the whole damn day to go home with his senior buddy.
I thought I made it easy for him. I wanted to provide an easy success to motivate him. It seems to have failed. He tells teachers his dad never did homework, so why should he... Today, he and another thoroughly irritating student of mine placed a bet as to whether or not they could go through a whole math class without doing a single bit of work.
Y'hear that sound? That's of TeacherLady smashing her head against a wall. I have to get these kids to not only pass their freshman classes, but the state test too. That little test that tells the world whether or not I'm an effective teacher. The one that determines if I get to keep my job, along with all my colleagues too. Fuck that! If legislators want to make expectations like that, they can take a fucking moment to look into my job and see how impossible it can be with some kids. It's all down to their home, their upbringing. You heard the kid! Daddy didn't do homework, and he's such a freaking winner, after all... Why not want to be like him?
Geez. A beer would be so freaking sweet right now. I'm into that whole breast feeding thing, too, so I can't even count down until birth, it goes BEYOND that!
And another thing!!! I'm really hating that college class I'm taking online right now. It's got so many bloody bugs and problems with it... Everyone in the class is getting frustrated and I'm getting so worn out trying to work through their problems that I'm ready to eat my monitor.
Okay. Breathe. Breathe. Life is good. My daughter is beautiful, my husband is sweet, my step-son is doing great at his school work, my colleagues make me laugh... I think I need to chill to some Enigma now.