Thursday, February 28, 2008

When you feel like nothing's working

I have this one class during the day where it seems no matter what I do, they are just completely disconnected from it. The students don't misbehave really, but they're either dead silent, falling asleep or otherwise giving me blank stares. We were nearly done with a short review of independent and dependent variables when I was overcome with a sense that I had lost them.

It wasn't as if I had droned on for a long time--we weren't even 10 minutes into class. I had already done the same lesson 3 times that day and it worked well all day. With this group, however, there was nothing. Not a sound, barely a blink of their eyes. The silence was deafening.

So I stopped almost mid-sentence. I asked them what the problem was. So many of them had failed the benchmark and weren't anywhere close to passing that they would need a lot of work to reach our goals. It seemed to me that if they were having so much trouble, they might pay more attention, not less; try harder, not less. I asked, and I waited. More silence.

After a couple of minutes of nothing, I asked them to write to me since they're clearly not a group of talkers. What was I as the teacher doing wrong? What can I do to help them? If it's not me, what is it? I told them (as I have many times before) that I blame myself when they don't do well, or they don't seem to be getting our lessons. I told them I didn't want their name on it, because I wanted them to be honest. I told them what their assignment was and then let them get to work.

I wasn't sure what to expect from their answers, but just like the insights I got from their Mid-Year Student Surveys, I learned a lot about where they're coming from and the challenges we have to overcome.
before you toss this paper aside...
I'm sorry, for everything and every day that you feel the way you do.
I'm sorry that I can't do nothing for it too. I try and I try but nothing gets better for me...or you
I'm sorry, that you feel like your not getting through but really it's not you, I think it's me. I get so tired before this class. and I'm not all there. I think about things other than here.
My mind is a whirlpool thing's sucked in but nothing comes out, to rethink, things over.
its hard for me, I don't understand
I think I have ADD I can't stay focused on something. I get so distracted with anything a tapping pencil or girls chattering, even the silence seems to bother me and I know you think that I'm just a kiddo.
but I know a few things or too, more then some people know, but I also wanna know some things about Algebra 1 atleast a little to make it through.
i'm sorry that I couldn't do more. but thank you for never giving up on me.


Sir, you are doing good, you don't have the blame if the other guys don't pass the benchmark. you are a very good teacher because I had never pass a benchmark or a taks before, but this year I learned a lot of things and with that was enough to pass the benchmark and now I'm going to pass the TAKS. Sir, again you are doing very good maybe you need to take that guys out of your class and send them someplace else that way you will teach even better.


Sorry Mr. D but there's nothing wrong with you teaching everything's okay its just me that I think its Boring thats the true... its just that I dont like school...


It's not that you don't teach good. your a good teacher. I just Hate Math... I can't stand all the numbers... I Never passed a Math TAKS test, only last year. But I just don't like it. Say or do what you do I'll Never like Math. Even if I try. I TRY! Bu tit just won't click into my head. But U R a cool teacher. It's just that Math aint for ME!!!


Well Sr. I don't have anything to say, just I'm sorry for all the freaking things that the class do. Sometimes I get mad at me because sometimes I don't pay attention to the class...


SORRY! Hey sir well I know that we haven't been doing how you expected but I don't think its bcz of you. I think its us and I know we have a problem! ...You have to understand that the "road has some bumbs and you have to go over them" just a saying hehehe well me I have my reasons why I don't try my best And I'm going to tell you them Right Know
  1. Bcz I get distracted with all the noise
  2. I don't really understand and Im Afraid to ask you when U R mad
  3. Bcz Im not a smart student and It takes long for me to get stuff stuck in my head! and well I do understand its not your fault., and I know that your thinking "Im gonna talk to her" and then thats it but no. I just can't get to be a perfect student and I know u r a really nice understanding teacher and you have helped me alot, and I just want to thank you and say that Im sorry! bcz I don't know how to pay you back!
P.S. Your a great teacher Sir, and we all know that, its just us that don't understand!
I may get frustrated and discouraged on occasion, but I'll never give up.