Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Already?

Wednesday Already?


OK, so I think I need to figure out a way of adding more structure to my classes. Or learning how to be a crankier medievalist. Or maybe find more motivated students? I've taught 7 classes this week -- down from the usual 9 by the end of Wednesday, because I had scheduled student progress meetings for one class. It has occurred to me that very few of my students are doing as well as they should. Even my good classes are not as on top of the information as they should be. I'm having to work very hard at getting the students to participate, rather than at getting the information across.

Yes, midterms were last week -- why do you ask? I think I had one A in all of my classes. Most of my students seem happy with B's and C's. Lots aren't doing that well. But some are. I don't take credit for that. The students who are doing well are driven and engaged, and seem to think that they should be doing the best they can. I do think they are getting something valuable out of my courses, but that's because they are genuinely putting something into them. I think most of my B students are also getting a lot out of the courses, but they could all be A students if they just did all their work and did it on time. But they all seem OK with what I would consider unacceptable grades.

I worry about them, and I worry that the apathy might be contagious. I need to find a way to make my classes more demanding on the students without disproportionately increasing my work load ...

5 comments:

New Kid on the Hallway said...

But they all seem OK with what I would consider unacceptable grades.

But isn't that the inevitable result of not teaching ourselves?

I always feel like a slacker when I say things like this, and I don't think it changes what I expect from them in the classroom, but I have always thought that it's the student's right to decide how much time/effort they're going to put into my class. They'll get back what they put in - they only get rewarded if they do put in time/effort - but it's their right to decide my class is their lowest priority. (Though not to TELL me this!)

Belle said...

Might I suggest that you put the burden on them? Make your methods transparent, and put the burden back on them. Require peer reviews, so that they are responsible for both their own and their peers' work.

Susan said...

I had this great moment of revelation as a teacher when I realized that the grade which would have devastated me (a B) did not devastate my students. But I agree with Belle: say up front this is a partnership, and I'll do my part but you need to do yours.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

You know, I went from teaching at a school (my grad institution) where grade-grubbing was common, to teaching at a place where about half the students seem pretty content with a C. The current situation is less of a pain in the ass for me, but I am sad that they are so content with mediocrity.

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