Homecoming is always a royal pain in the ass. This year was no different. It didn't help matters that I missed two days helping take care of Kenzie. When I was finally able to get back to school on Friday, the annual homecoming insanity was in full swing.
Instead of being able to discuss "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Black Cat" in Lit and Language 11, I was informed by half a dozen students that they needed to get out early to work on their float for the upcoming parade. At least they had the courtesy to come to class and get all the homework over the next week (we don't have school next week since Monday and Tuesday are full of 24 hours worth of conferences).
I thought things would be different with my advanced College Comp classes, but I couldn't have been more mistaken. My third block class had a good turn out, though most of the supposed leaders of the school, the athletes, had better things to do. I think maybe one football player, again, a supposed leader of the student body, who bothered to come in early and get the assignment over break. So next week, they are simply going to be out of luck for that writing assignment. I mean this is supposed to be a college level course, yet they treat it as if they're in freaking middle school or something.
So to combat this, I gave what one of my professors did in college, usually on Friday, when few turned out: a Mickey Mouse quiz. It's simply a reward for showing up. Sad I know.
My fourth block College Comp class was even worse. Apparently, the football players in there found it more important to practice for the upcoming pep fest and volleyball scrimmage (where most wore skin tight spandex and the tucked socks into their crotches for an indecent display. You'd think somebody in charge (pardon the pun) would have the balls to put a stop to such nonsense, but foolishness like this is always allowed to go on during homecoming - remember those dances where females for each class would practically take turns grinding themselves into the gym floor?) than to bother to show up for their assignment. Great student athlete leadership right?
Now, given the apathy illustrated from many students (namely, the supposed leaders, the student athletes), I am going to have to change my policies.
Usually, for every 'theme' my students write, I have them write rough drafts on three separate topics. For example, for the descriptive theme, I had students write about their favorite time of year, their favorite place, and finally a description of whatever they want. Then they are free to choose whatever rough draft they like the best to develop and revise for their final descriptive theme.
I do this to allow them to do not only a lot of writing but also to let them have more freedom over what they want to write about. This way they are not locked into one topic and just one essay.
However, some don't even bother to do these. Instead, they just write one essay for their theme (usually a day or two before it's due), which, of course, defeats the entire purpose.
Instead, now I will be more stringent and be the crusty old teacher who walks around and checks each students draft. They will be given one chance to get points for this. Plus, I will make it requisite that drafts be complete on time in order for them to have a shot at full credit on their final themes. Plus, I will make it requisite that they attend each class period. If they choose to complete just two of the three drafts and they attend only seven of ten days, then their final scores will suffer.
Now, honestly, I think this is kind of hogwash. I agree with a study I was part of that found one big problem with high school writers struggling in college is that they aren't rewarded just on the final project. Too many high school teachers grade them on the writing process or give extra credit. As I said, I happen to agree with this. In college, if a student doesn't have to work as hard in class because they are incredibly gifted and they can crank out a superb effort in one night's work, then so be it. Likewise, if a student really struggles at writing and they have to put in work in class every day and each night to just get an average grade on their essays, then so be it.
I would love to adopt that attitude in my College Comp class, but I'd have too many students struggling far too much. They just aren't ready for that type of responsibility.
Hopefully, I can put them to the coals for awhile like this and they can learn to show up every day and to complete the assignments. Not too much to ask is it? But you'd be surprised how many of my supposed college level students are struggling.