Sunday, December 16, 2007

My latest realization

I have two biology classes. I teach them the same curriculum. Now that I have finalized the grades, one of the classes has two F's (one from a student who hasn't been there in two months, the other from a student who gave up very early in the class and has turned in almost nothing). My other class has sixteen F's--fully half the class is failing.

Now, earlier in the year, when both classes were struggling, I figured it was just because I was a new and inexperienced teacher. However, as the semester progressed and one class recovered while the other class continued to flounder, I began to suspect that there might be other factors at play in that classroom. Last night, I looked at the grades of my sixteen failing students. With only one or two exceptions, these students were also getting D's and F's in several of their other classes. Most of these students are not new to the school, so the administration knew that these kids were not the best students, and yet they put them all in the same class. Considering that I only have eight tables in the classroom, that is an average of two failing students per table.

I'd like to take a moment right here to clarify what I am trying to say. These students are not unteachable--they simply need more attention, an environment free of distractions, and a teacher who is experienced in devising stratagems to entice reluctant students into doing their work. Why the hell are they all in the same class? Why do they have me teaching them? This is not serving the best interests of the students!

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