The End of Classes

Had my last class of the 2010-11 school year today. All my grades are in, save the one class that has a student with a grade below 75--the I.T. person is checking the cutoff settings on the program, so as long as that's resolved by noon on Monday, we are good to go.

We have a faculty-only day on Monday as well (meetings and grades), and the rest of the final week of school is half days for the students with activities, including some chaotic field day thing. Supposedly, the consequences for not having overdue books returned or outstanding fines is not being permitted to participate in the field day. That's a little harsh, but that said, I have a number of students who have been ignoring or avoiding dealing with their overdues, and I don't want to send the message that blowing off your responsibility has no consequences. Besides, I'd rather everyone end the year with a clean slate.

Of course, there were mistakes in the circ system (surprise!) and two eighth graders didn't get caught on their overdues before they graduated last night. Wrong due dates, wrong grade levels. . . honestly, not to blame the secretary, but that is her responsibility. Sometimes I think she cares more about crossing something off her list, and it doesn't matter whether it's done right. Like spending hours entering bar codes into inventory for things that are already counted because they're checked out to faculty. And, you know, 'cos checking your work wastes time. That's an attitude I've come across in some of my students.

But getting back to my original point--in the students' minds, they're already done. In most of their classes this week, they watched movies. They get to have fun all week this coming week, and leave at lunchtime.

I, on the other hand, have a list comprised of multiple pages for things that must be done by all faculty for the end of the year.

This disconnect makes me uncomfortable and confused. A couple days of fun, sure. But for a school that is supposed to be academically competitive and more advanced than a lot of other public and parochial schools in the area/state, and in light of the lackluster reading and writing skills I've observed this past year, I find it so. . . counterproductive. I mean, it used to be that it was so hot at the end of the year, you couldn't do anything, so you turned out the lights and tried to think cool thoughts as you sweltered under the classroom ceiling fan and watched a movie. That I understand.

This school has ice-cold air-conditioning and summer uniforms.

Would it be so horrible to, I don't know, help them get a jump start on their summer reading or something?

Oh well, classes are over, so I guess I don't have to care about it until next year.

But God help me if I don't turn in my handbook on time.


ccr in MA said…
It does seem out of balance. Perhaps the teachers have so much work to do, they don't have the time to make the students work?

Not that I claim to understand education. Or much else, most days. It's changed so much since I was in school.
Angela Noelle said…
I think the most disconcerting thing that I discovered in my teaching education is how little about today's school system has anything to do with teaching. It is so much more about dealing with disruptive students and taking care of paperwork and in-service programs.

Oh well. Hopefully there are more teachers out there with your mindset than not, but I'm not too optimistic about that :/
Kate P said…
CCR--yeah, you may be right about that. Sometimes that is the only possible time to mark papers or take that darn online-safety-update quiz thingy.

Angela--yes. This may sound out of line, but I often wonder if some kids with discipline problems (or special needs as the case may be) might be better served in a less-mainstreamed (or smaller) class environment. I'm sorry to say that I wasn't sad about every single name I heard of students who won't be back next year. (But oh MAN am I crying about the nice student whose family is moving West! Waaah!)

HOWEVER, I did find out that one of the fifth grade teachers who does Language Arts did read the first couple chapters of the required summer reading book to his class. . . just to get them hooked. SMART.

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