I haven’t written since last semester at this very moment. I suppose, just as the sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west, some things never change.
After some good, grading-filled snow days, I am now facing the doom that is midterm grade postings. I have several dozen missing assignments, many voices clamoring to be heard as they all cry out in one, unified voice, “what assignments am I missing?”
Now. Is. Not. The. Time.
Today I gave students a 200 point assignment (which was easy as pie, I’m not an ogre). It was given in effort to pick up some missing points. As I told a good friend of mine last night, “If I assign this, the kids who are passing will continue to do well on it and pass. Those who are not, will not give a hoot. They will continue to have poor grades and I’ll be stuck grading their assignment!”
Rant over. I did give the assignment, and lo and behold! Mama put the coins on my eyes because I cannot believe I was right! (hyperbole for you; you’re welcome) As the old, misconstrued saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but that doesn’t make it right.” I have preached since day one that I will do my utmost: I will grade papers, I will assign meaningful assignments, I will show up on time and look like an adult, I will give respect even when disrespected. I. Will. Do. My. Part. But I cannot, I repeat, CANNOT make up grades. I cannot pull numbers out of my butt. I cannot hold your hand and make your pencil write. I can only do MY best. What little I ask in return is THEIR best.
I see many teachers walk these halls and shrug their shoulders when kids slack off. I get it. It’s as frustrating as a one legged man in a butt kicking contest. I know it is! BUT (ah, the existential but), I take my job seriously, and I take my kids’ future seriously. While we all may never sit and extrapolate the joys and hardships of a literary novel for the rest of our lives, I do find that English work and language arts are useful for a myriad of things. A few notable ones being communication, not looking like a boob when communicating with smart people, effective arguments in daily living, and written expression (a tool we all use, way more than we realize).
This is why I get mad when my 1st hour has a combined average of 67%. This is why I am furious when kids sleep in my class. This is why I am angrily tapping out this article.
You can care about a horse, lead him to water, but he doesn’t have to drink. And that’s okay. Well, it’s okay for me. Not for them. I won’t quit leading them there, I won’t quit stopping by the trough. They will quit. And they will tug on the lead. And they will kick and punch and sleep. He doesn’t have to drink. He doesn’t have to respond. I do what I do because I know I need to do it, because 75% of my horses drink. Even if just 1% drank, I would continue to do it (but I would also seriously evaluate a. my kids and their abilities and b. my own abilities! I mean 1% is really sad… it’s something, but it’s also sad!).
We’re heading into Spring Break, and I’m praying that love of education blossoms in their hearts like the lilies in my front yard.
Welcome to Mrs. Mac’s classroom, we’ve got spirit; yes we do!