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cheerfuldaisy
 
 
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I can't take it anymore
Old 01-12-2021, 09:23 PM
 
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I am not sure if I am posting to vent or if I am posting for advice. I signed out of my account because I believe some of my co-workers post here as well. I do not want to get reprimanded (or worse) from those above.

I teach Math 1 to high school freshmen. All of my classes are "in person" learners. I see more than 125 students every two days. We started remotely, attended in person until December when numbers increased, then went remote again. We are currently still remote. The last day of our first semester will be at the end of this week, on Friday. Our governor is determined to get students back into the classroom although COVID numbers are higher than they have ever been. (That's an entirely different vent that I could talk about for hours!) I am not in favor of returning to the classroom, but apparently teachers' opinions do not matter in my state.

Over half of my students are failing. Most of them were failing before we went remote. They do not want to work. I can give assignments with 3 problems and they will not do them! I offer discussion questions and they will not respond. Most of the ones who are working are using things like PhotoMath to solve the problems for them. Since we were encouraged to not use pencil/paper, my students must work on their school issued iPads. This makes it so much easier for them to cheat because teachers were also told to not circulate the room (due to COVID and spreading germs). Teachers have an app on their iPad that allows you to see the students' screens, but the app doesn't work correctly.

It is all over the news (because it came from our state superintendent) that "x" amount of students are failing statewide due to remote learning. This trickles down to our district. Our superiors are asking what we are doing to help curb the failures. Our principal is asking what we are doing to help students. He also constantly sends emails asking us to reflect on what we are doing and think about how we can do it differently. There is an unspoken pressure to pass the kids. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I have done everything possible but you want ME to do more? How about asking the kids to do what is expected?

Our classes meet every other day. Each day of remote learning, I post their daily list of things that need to be done. At the end of the list, I remind students about due dates. I also tell them about assignments that will "close" and will no longer accept submissions (we use Schoology). I hold live conferences for students every day, every class period. They are encouraged to send me messages if they have questions. I post videos of myself working through examples and explanations. I post pages of notes for them to look at. What else can I do?

Let's discuss kids who do not work. I left the entire second quarter open until the end of Christmas break. Students' last day was December 23. I reminded them that assignments would be open until January 3. I reminded them multiple times. I sent messages. I posted updates. I added it in their daily list. I told them during conferences. And on January 3, the assignments closed. Guess what? I have students sending me messages to ask if I will open an assignment for them to complete? I even had a student use her IEP as an excuse for assignments to be opened. She did not access Schoology at all during the holiday break. But she sent me a message today reminding me that her IEP states that she gets extended time on assignments and will need them opened! If I open the assignment for her, it is open and available for all of her classmates. I also have students who are finding the assignments locked, so they send the assignment to me by attaching it to a message.

I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

They are working on their Final Exam and some small assignments this week (discussion questions that do not have a right or wrong answer). Don't even ask about their Final Exam. It doesn't even measure what they've learned this semester. It is an easy way for them to earn points to help them pass. (Completely against my beliefs, but it gets admin off my back about the large number of failures.) I need time to get their finals graded, as well as a few assignments from last week and of course, the discussions from this week. (I will tell you that if an assignment is not graded, even the good kids will not do it.) I'm sorry, but I do not want to spend this upcoming three day weekend grading student work because they didn't complete it when it was assigned. I am not giving up MY time. It is not fair to my family. And I am going to need to rest and prepare for returning to the classroom next week. Oh, and it is in my syllabus that I do not accept late work. BUT, I am afraid my principal will question why I am not allowing students to complete assignments when they are telling me that they will complete them.

Another issue. In Schoology, I have to mark their assignments that they have not completed as "missing" or they claim to not know that they've never completed the assignment. (Don't get me started on this. They've worked with Schoology for at least three years.) When I mark the assignments as "missing", it records as a zero. This is part of the reason their grades are so bad. Should I remove the "missing", which will remove the zero? Is it fair to excuse them from all of the work that they chose to not do? Is it fair to the kids who did complete everything while we were remote? (I suppose I should tell you that our students were not held accountable at the end of the year last year. If they did work and it helped their grade, we included those assignment scores. But if they did work and it hurt their grade, we took those scores out. And those students who did not complete any work, well, they received the grade they held at the end of the third quarter. So no accountability at all. It was like Oprah -- You get an A! You get an A! You get an A! Everyone gets an A!)

I have co-workers who think it is horrible to let any of our students fail because this year is such a mess. I agree that this year is such a mess. But I disagree with passing students when they are not doing anything! And if they pass Math 1, they will advance to Math 2 with little to no skills. I am setting them up for failure! I have students who cannot solve a simple two step equation! What is going to happen when my principal sees that over 50% of my students are failing and will need to make up this course? Will I be frowned upon? Will I be given a "pep speech" about how I need to change it up to encourage the students?

I have talked to other math teachers in my district. We are all struggling with cheating. It is bad. Even the honors and AP students are cheating. I HATE cheating! I hate academic dishonesty! And parents are bashing teachers extremely bad because we are saying it isn't safe to return to the classroom. We want to remain remote until it is safe. Remote is harder for everyone, not just the kids. Teachers are still reporting to the building every day unless you are out sick, take a personal day, or are in quarantine. I am so frustrated right now with this entire situation that I am considering going back to good ol' pencil, paper and calculators when we return. Ditch the iPad for my class unless you are quarantined. Less opportunity to cheat. Let the parents be outraged that I am using pencil and paper. It's what they are asking for! They want normal. They want their kids to learn. Let's go back. We can wipe down calculators with our wipes at the end of each block and the beginning of each block (double up on the cleaning). Am I crazy for thinking this? Is it just the frustration taking over?

I am tired of fighting these fights. High numbers of COVID cases. Not enough PPE. Can't properly social distance in the classroom. Cheating students. Non-working students. Parents ranting about grades. Students ranting about grades. Students asking for extended time when they've been given longer than they would've if we had been in the classroom. End of the semester. Grading.

If you read all of this, thank you. As I said at the beginning - I am not sure if I am just looking for someone to vent to that will understand or if I am looking for advice from others who understand.


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I hear you!
Old 01-13-2021, 03:03 AM
 
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It's similar with my students. My admin is a little better but still asking more from me than I can give. I try to compassionately hold my ground with students on basic work ethic issues (cheating and due dates). This year is such a mess. I have students telling me that no one will fail this year because of the pandemic. I insist that isn't true and to keep working. At some point they will be expected to catch up and know the material I'm teaching. Also if you dont use and exercise your brain, it makes it more difficult to learn later when you might have to. Set boundaries and stick to them (a daily struggle for me too). This will eventually get better.
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This isn't good for students
Old 01-13-2021, 04:22 AM
 
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Honestly, until there are real consequences imposed at the administrative level this year will instill some very bad habits and expectations in many students. If the administration of a school was to make learning its primary focus and then make decisions based on whether kids were learning, things would be different. Too many adults have forgotten the first purpose of school.
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:15 AM
 
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I agree that we aren't doing anyone any favors by passing them when they don't learn the skills they need. It also sounds like you are doing as much as you can do without just doing the assignments for them.

I just wanted to make a comment on the cheating-which from what I interpret to mean looking things up on the computer-even to the point of using programs that help work problems. I think this is an issue education is going to have to workaround. I don't have the answers, but it is a fact of life today that our students are able to google anything they want and find an answer. Our job is to figure out how to teach them the skills they need to know and how to evaluate information found on line for validity.

As teachers and adults, I bet you google quite a bit. I know I am always looking things up. I use some sort of calculator to figure math that I don't know how to do. Anyone use a mortgage calculator to check the difference of interest rates or adding additional money to payments? My job as a consumer is to understand what those numbers mean and what that means for me. And to understand if those numbers are reasonable and therefore correct. How does that fit into education? I don't know, but I do think we have to rethink what we are teaching and how. Of course, a person can't google every little thing they need to know. There is information we need to be able to understand the world around us, but... Anyway- just something to think about.

Maybe if your math was inside a video game your students would be more engaged and connected. But they aren't seeing a connection or need, in addition to lacking grade motivation. How can you connect the math to their world?
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Old 01-13-2021, 07:02 AM
 
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I would be sending an email with a list of everything you've done to help students be successful and then a list of everything students HAVEN'T done. I'd also be asking admin at what point students are expected to take responsibility for THEIR learning and when ADMIN will help support teachers and students. This whole thing is ridiculous.

I absolutely feel your pain.


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Word!
Old 01-13-2021, 07:52 AM
 
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At my campus, the counselors run the show, and we are not allowed to give any grade lower than a 55, because it might break a studentsí self esteem.

I have 8th graders who have a 55 average and have not shown up to ONE class and have not done even ONE assignment ALL YEAR!

But since they have that 55, instead of repeating the course or doing summer school, they will get to take a credit recovery 2 week online course so they pass. And they told their parents this. So guess how many failing kids I have now?

Is that 2 week credit recovery course going to prepare them for high school?

Nope. When you tell the kids that grades donít matter and effort doesnít matter, then they will not try. Period.
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