Pure Rant

Holy Crap…

Does it get worse every year, or have I changed?

I teach seniors. I teach nine week classes on a block schedule. Every nine weeks, I get a new load of 16-25 year olds that I see for 85 minutes every day. (Serious…I had a 25-year-old this year.) It’s only nine weeks, but that’s still a lot of time to hang with lazy-ass chatty and the crew. The third batch, from the third quarter, is wrapping up tomorrow.

They have to pass my class in order to graduate.

Many haven’t given a shit until just today. And some still don’t. (I know I said I would stop swearing for Lent. I don’t care. I stopped poking myself in the eye instead. Fuck it.)

If I failed everyone who deserved to fail…..armegeddon.

Fuck…It’s so hard not to say, “Hey, Dipshit, do your fucking work, ask for help, or get your stupid ass out of here because you are not cut out for high school. Not now. You are sucking resources and wasting your own time. This is the second time I have had you in this same goddamn class. My impression is that either A) You are just barely smart enough to know that I will get my ass shredded in a wood chipper if too many of you fail, thus you know that there is a good chance you will pass even though you don’t deserve to; B) You are too fucking stupid to even begin considering the ramifications of not graduating from high school; or C) I have not challenged you with enough higher-order thinking questions.”

Seriously, doesn’t it have to be one of those?

I have 35 kids (and/or young adults) in one of my classes. If you are 20 years old and sitting on an 8.32% for the class, have been absent 22 times in nine weeks, and refuse help; then isn’t that on you? Am I really supposed to call your fucking mom? Drop out. Work at Target for a couple of years and then get your GED. Or stay at Target. Whatever. Just stop wasting my time. There are people behind you. I don’t need you in this class again next year to make it 36.

You are an adult. Get set to be treated like one. We all here are about done changing your diapers.

Mr. Teachbad

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60 Responses to Pure Rant

  1. Kim says:

    Totally hear this one. I had a parent meeting this morning, and while I was sitting with the guidance counselor before the parent came in, we discussed how kids who are supposed to be graduating in May can’t even be assed enough to show up to school. The poor guidance counselor said she calls the parents, and the parents treat her like SHE’s the problem. “Oh, I couldn’t get Ben out of bed this morning, so that’s why he was absent.” Excuse me, you couldn’t get your teenage child out of bed? I got a solution – Bucket of ice water. Upend the damn bed. Quit being so nice to your damn child, unless you want him to live with you FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Five years to finish high school? Seriously, I remember when I was in college, it was an anomaly to finish college in more than 4 years. What on earth is going through these knuckleheads’ brains?

  2. JoAnne says:

    This is quite possibly the single best thing anyone has written about teaching in the history of EVAR.

    Okay, maybe not, but I can so relate to being fed up with kids who can’t be arsed to give a shit on nearly-daily basis. I tell my students that it might take awhile, but there may very well come a day when I have no other choice but to conclude that they are, in fact, stupid.

  3. Colette says:

    I feel your frustration and disgust, Mr. T. The level of teacher-bashing in our culture has risen to maddening levels, and now we are threatened with being judged by how some of these bozos will be scoring on standardized tests? It’s insane!

  4. kathyp says:

    You said it! I have sixth graders, a bit different than seniors, but still….am I REALLY expected to e-mail mommy the homework DAILY because stupid-ass Janey or Johnny is too freakin’ lazy to copy it his darn self??? Seriously???

    Science fair projects are due on Monday. I hope to get 3 out of the 25 kids in the class. Hopefully one is decent so I can send it to the school wide fair and keep admin off my butt. (And I am not a Science teacher, but I play one every day).

    • gilda says:

      Dear kathyp:
      Another 6th grade teacher here who resonates with your post. We have parents who openly berate us on a nearly daily basis, and emails copies of her daily tirades to the Superintendent, principal, asst. principal and school board members when we expect her darlin’ Billy to actually:
      >copy the assignment himself into the Agenda we GIVE THEM FOR FREE
      >do the work
      >return the work
      >hand the work in to be graded

      Our expectations, according to WhackJobMom are too high and incredibly unrealistic for her 13 year old son–yup– he’s already a twopeter. Of course, there’s no 504, special ed status, etc-she keeps meaning to get him to the doctor about that pesky ADD and ODD (that would be oppositional defiance disorder—my personal new fave) and has enabled and entitled him to pretty much tell us to fuck off on a daily basis. And we have to take it, because district office wants to placate her. The inmates are truly running this middle school asylum. It wouldn’t be bad if this were a rare case, but by now this is pretty much the norm–only the details change….

      • crazedmummy says:

        I have a website which has all the homework on it. I keep emailing the link to homes whenever I am asked. It also has links to all the solutions. So far, only one girl has ever looked at it. She came to me and asked if I had made a mistake, did I know the answers were all up on the web? I said yes. She asked me why everyone didn’t have 100%. I shrugged. She passed the class with 61%
        Frankly, kiddies, giving you something that you could look up, print off, or copy, is as much as I can possibly do for you. I refuse to print them off for you using mail merge with the classroom list of names. Blame it on a teacher unwilling to use technology to help her students.
        Since they toughened up the GED, it’s hard for the little adults to pass it. Apparently you have to fill in your own bubbles on the worksheet. Seriously, when I got the individualized plan for a student that said I had to remove the distractors from the multiple choice test, and “it’s the law, so you have to follow what we wrote” I begged the writers to take me to court on that one.

  5. M says:

    I also teach seniors and I tell them the first day of class that I don’t care if they pass, I don’t get paid based on their graduation rate, and I’m not their mom. I’m a huge fan of personal responsibility and if they don’t know how to check their grades or turn in their work by the time they reach senior year, then they deserve to fail. Wow, I’m really bitter about this.

  6. A dallas diva says:

    God bless you. Have to say, I’m glad you gave up on not cussing. Not sure but I think the cussing makes this even funnier.

    Hear, hear, my friend. Teachers around the country are cursing the post-spring break senioritis that marks a dark descent into “how low can my grade be and I still pass.” Even the high achievers succumb.

  7. DarwinsRetriever says:

    I teach 8th grade science at a charter school. I love the selection for higher order questions. Our CRT (or as we call her, the political officer) beats us to death about higher order questions, that we don’t ask enough. Many of us are surprised that our students can find their way home each day, much less answer a question to explain how an airplane can fly. The 8th grade math teacher came to me the other day. He had asked a student how many miles could he drive if he had only 1 gallon of gas and his car got 21MPG. He couldn’t answer it. On St Pats day, the PE coach was crossing through his room and a student asked the coach why he was wearing green. His reply, “Because I’m Irish.” The kids response, “I thought you were white.” And somehow these kids are supposed to pass the FCAT in 2 weeks.

  8. Tracy says:

    But Mr. Teachbad, what have YOU done to ensure their success? Have you called home, done AIS, held their hands, gone home with them to help them do their HW, created rigorous, fun, and differentiated lessons with clowns and dancing girls to keep them motivated? You must be a lazy, tenured teacher working 1/2 a day to have such abysmal grades in your class. TSK TSK!

    • Miss Crabtree says:

      Yas, yas. It’s all about the engagement factor.

      • Ellie says:

        Don’t worry, children. Bill Gates has, as you might have guessed, all the answers. Here’s a quote.

        Q: What is the boldest effort that has come from the $290 million you’ve awarded to restructure teacher personnel systems?

        A: We video a great teacher and then she watches it and comments on her video, saying, “that kid’s foot is jerking. I’m not making this interesting enough.” Just the narrative of a great teacher talking through what she did right, what she could have done better, is so informative.

        Now we are responsible for a kid’s foot jerking.
        Maybe the kid has Tourette’s.

      • Ellie, I just wrote about Bill. I want him to solve all the world’s problems through body language interpretation and video feedback.

  9. Sean says:

    I too teach seniors. Government and economics. I have 41 seniors failing right now. This is of a class of 88 kids. ( Small town.) I sent home 41 progress reports on Monday. Mailed them, certified, signature receipt. I know they are home, the kids have told me so. It is Friday. How many parents have I heard from? Zero. The parents will lay around and wait until it is too late.
    This is my last year. I am thinking of all 41 failing, that way I can get out of graduation in record time….Fuck ‘em…..

    • Sean–But doesn’t your school give the seniors who failed something an empty diploma folder? That way, they still walk across the stage anyway. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

      • Utz, The Crab Chip says:

        YES! I hate this! The school spends 4 years threatening them with “you won’t graduate if…”, then lets them walk across the stage anyway! And its not like the underclassmen don’t know, so really, the school spends 4 years advertising to all students: “We make empty threats, ignore what we tell you to do”.

      • Sean says:

        At this point, they don’t let those who do not have the required credits walk….I could see them letting them walk if say…41…flunk my class.
        A few years ago they started letting kids walk if they couldn’t pass the Texas TAKS Exit Test. Of course, this first happened when a relative of a board member didn’t pass the math exit test.
        Unfortunately, this did away with some kids efforts to pass the TAKS. “Why try? ” ” I still get to walk with my class.”

      • gilda says:

        Oh yeah-let’s not damage their self-esteem by not letting them “walk”-heaven forfend–does it REALLY matter if they didn’t pass one class in their senior year? REALLY???

  10. Resigned says:

    Just yesterday we were having a map challenge in class – who could write the most states correctly on a blank map. In each class (of high schoolers) I had at least 3 students who could not find our home state.

    • Sean says:

      No shock there…..I had 4 of 8 seniors in my so-called “honors” class who couldn’t name 2 of the 4 states that border Texas.
      And I had a parent call and inquire why I was asked that question in “government class?”

      • Sean says:

        BTW: Excuse me if I make no sense tonight. Had oral surgery this afternoon, and the dentist gave me some Percocet. 8-)

    • Not a Dog and Pony Show says:

      I had a senior tell me once that 300 didn’t have a half.

    • DarwinsRetriever says:

      I had an 8th grade science class that was also in the Algebra 1 class tell me that 2 divided by 4 couldn’t be done. And 5 with a remainder of 1 equalled 5.1 (it didn’t).

  11. EBear says:

    Shoot. I thought I had it bad with a 19 year-old who is in my 1st semester sophmore math class. Our administrator had a conference with all of the kids who were 18+ and still considered freshman. He was upset for a couple of days, then went back to not doing anything.

    On a different note, I have a student in my advisement (aka homeroom) who has told me he is in the US illegally (as well as his family). He is currently on free/reduced lunch and is only passing one class (PE). He said there is no point in graduating because he can’t get a job or go to college b/c he is illegal. What is a teacher to do?

  12. happyIquit says:

    um, mr teachbad?? have you considered having your students sign a behavior contract? and then they can have a sticker chart to track their progress? and then they can earn a reward? the guidance counselor at my last school is very very positive this can cure everything. she was never actually a teacher, but i’m sure she must be right, and the fact that it never worked for more than a week for me is because (obviously) i am an abject failure. I think it would really have helped the 25 year old stay on track.

    i love everything you write and when i see you have posted something new i get very excited and save it for a special quiet time where i can savor every word. seeing as i quit teaching i actually have access to “quiet time” with astounding frequency – which is lovely because it means i never have to wait TOO long to read your pearls of wisdom.

    start writing a book. NOW!!! you could call it “truth writers” instead of “freedom writers”. and since i gave you the title i get 50% of the profit :)

  13. DarwinsRetriever says:

    Florida is in need of a new state chancellor of education. The old one resigned to let Rick Scott (Governor of the walking dead) to get his own. Now Michelle Rhee (of fire 700 teachers in DC fame) is on Scott’s educational transition team is a real possibility. But I really want Amy Chua (Mother Tiger).

    • Miss Crabtree says:

      Jeez. You laugh. Maybe Amy Chua is just what we need. A parental drill sargent. Someone who will take charge. I mean REALLY take charge. Take names, kick butt, take no prisoners. TIGER TEACHER.

      Oo-oo-oo. Somebody make one of those animated videos showing Amy Chua’s Back to Basics 6th Grade Transition Boot Camp Experience. I would do it myself, but the technology is beyond my grasp.

      • happyIquit says:

        Ha! i used to hand back work to kids in my first grade all the time and ask “seriously? are you seriously giving this to me? that is ridiulous. do you want to throw it away or should i? now go sit down,start over, and do it right”. when i read the part about her not accepting a lazy birthday card effort i could so relate – and i realized that i was like “tiger teacher” lol! i also liked to use the phrase “you can take your boo-hoo tears right back to your seat-they don’t work here”. when i told my students they did a good job and i was proud – they knew i meant it. the way “they” want us to treat kids today as though the slightest suggestion that something they have done isn’t completely amazing is so bizzare. the kids know when they try – and why bother if trying or not trying is celebrated in the same way? tiger teacher ROAR!!!!!!!!!

  14. jobbahobaawobbasobba says:

    This is a GREAT post. It sums up my day perfectly. What happened to vocational training? I too teach seniors. In a traditional school setting, many of these students are just what you said, a drain on time and resources. Why not offer them training in something? Be a locksmith, a plumber, a carpenter, a welder, a bus driver, join the military, something, ANYTHING. Why do we have to pretend like they are all going to succeed in college? There is honor in all the above mentioned jobs, it’s ok to not go to college. Then the 15 kids who really are interested in school could learn without distractions. And you could teach without distractions.

    • gilda says:

      Whoa now-you really want these numbnuts carrying rifles with live ammo??
      Better rethink that. Oh–that’s right–the military won’t take them either! Everyone out in the real world, except schools, are allowed to say, and mean, “No-you can’t do that.”

  15. Teacher of the F-ing Year says:

    I have been asked, with all seriousness, by the mother of a child who didn’t do any work for 3 of 4 quarters and never set foot in my room for extra help, if I GAVE HIM THE WORK when everyone else got it.
    Damn! She discovered my dirty little secret–her child was failing because I didn’t give him the work.
    Next year I’m going to lock my door so the little buggers can’t even get in.

    • Sounds like the same parents who ask me, “Do you realize yours is the only class he’s flunking.” No, I tell them, I stopped realizing things about 15 years ago.

    • DarwinsRetriever says:

      I’ve proposed free-range teaching to my principal, but he has rejected it each time. I say we put the kids in a field, desks with books, and work spread throughout the field and let them “feed” naturally.

      • GG says:

        That sounds just like the “differentiated classroom” we were lectured on just before I quit teaching — kids working at different “stations” unattended and unguided, open areas where children could “express themselves physically” by dancing out their literature assignment or whatever, etc. I know with my group, some would be fighting, some would be screwing (and I do mean screwing, not screwing around) in the far corners — oh, and did I mention there’s no teacher desk? Just wide open fields, err, areas in which the students may roam freely, because you know every child wants to learn (yes, that’s sarcastic). I guess we’ve just been standing in their ways all this time…

      • I "teach" Music says:

        I like it. Makes a much sense as what we do now.

  16. Kimree says:

    How is it that tax payers are paying to educate a twenty-five year old? Is he person with special needs?

  17. Miss Crabtree says:

    One of my teacher friends always said that she wished she worked at a school for gifted orphans. She also said that she loved school–when the kids weren’t there.

    • Teacher of the F-ing Year says:

      Oh yes! School is really quite lovely with no kids. The grass isn’t covered with litter, the birds come back to sing in the trees knowing that they won’t have objects lobbed at them, and there are no shrieks or whistles disturbing the peace and quiet.

  18. Ranya says:

    I wonder if there are college professors who also have their own blog/forum saying things like, “Where the hell did these students get their high school education?” At least they have the leisure to not give a crap about sorry, insolent, lazy, absentee students.

    • GG says:

      Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure about that. There’s increasing pressure on colleges to make sure everyone graduates (which, as we all know, means dumbing down the curriculum until everyone passes). I don’t think it’s hit the private universities, but it’s definitely on the rise in public universities.

      • Miss Crabtree says:

        Try the blog Tenured Radical for a clear view of college life from a professor who really thinks and cares. Plus she has some excellent animations on her blog.

  19. Sean says:

    I am going to rant…….As many of you know, the State of Texas is short $28 billion. Most of the cut will be to education. Yesterday, the cuts hit my tiny district. It was a mix of young and old. The part we didn’t understand was the people who were either “Old Warhorses” who could teach circles around the best. ( Yes, they were all eligible for retirement.) Or they were the best of the new teachers. Bad people who should have been “told” to retire were given contracts. New hires who really struggled were kept. There might have been political considerations, but we can’t prove it. There is also a belief by some who subscribe to conspiracy theories, that some who were non-renewed, didn’t go to the right church. ( May seem strange in 2011, but church attendance or lack thereof is a big thing in rural Texas. I raise a few eyebrows because I attend an Episcopal church 25 miles away. I may have been “retired,” even though I have made no secret that I am retiring, but my contract runs through 2012.)
    The entire way it was handled was poorly. The building principals were not told by the superintendent. She did the firing herself, and was done directly from the play book of a Fortune 500 company. On a Friday, 2-3 hours before the end of business day. Hell, the supt. didn’t even explain why the teachers were being let go, just “you are not coming back, good-bye.”

    • gilda says:

      I feel for your colleagues. Pathetic-both action and method. Don’t sell the conspiracy theory short-they may not WANT the older staff around to tell the truth to the newbies who were kept-perhaps for their pc with the bosses?

      • Sean says:

        Gilda, you could be right. There is an element of politics in the education of our kids right now like I have never seen. Sure the lack of money in the state’s budgets adds to the situation, but it is at fever pitch. It could be “they” want good little soldiers to just fall in line and do what they are told…..Bad curriculum, bad administration, poor working conditions…..Yes Mein Fuhrer. ich werde sie!

    • Sean says:

      This was another part that pissed me off ( all of us)…..We were kept until 6pm on a Friday, yes a god damn Friday, about 4 weeks ago to tell have the supt. give a fucking power point ( Sorry if you use power points, but I hate them.) telling and showing us how good of a shape our district was in financially. The supt. ended the meeting, by telling us, there would be no lay-offs for the 2011-2012 school year. We would simply just not replace retirements and resignations……Then, this crap happens on Friday.
      Sorry folks, I am good and pissed…..I had to get it off my chest.

      • ForReal says:

        This is happening in many schools across the country. Veteran teachers are being given bad evaluations to help push them out the door…especially the ones who tend to speak up or question admin. I’ll be getting my annual eval this week and am really HOPING there is something rotten on there. I filed a title IX complaint earlier and retaliation on their part would be stupid (and costly!).

  20. I love the description of the You-Got-To-Be-Kidding students. I have a senior who failed sophomore and junior English, so he’s supposedly making them all up this year. Our district just keeps passing kids along; a kid can pass a course in summer school (rarely do they want to “waste” their summer that way) or somehow magically takes a course called “credit completion” which is just about making them sit in a classroom on Saturday mornings until they sat there enough to equal the time they should have spent actually learning.

    Anyway, this senior sat in my class for months doing nothing but texting or talking to people around him. He made no secret about how annoying I was by telling him to put the phone away, do some work, etc. He did the same in his junior English class too. I have no idea what he did about sophomore English.

    So now the big test is on. He has crashed and burned in senior and junior English. He hasn’t done a thing on his senior project, a requirement for graduation. Bets are on whether he’ll somehow manage to pull a administrative miracle out of his ass and graduate. June cannot come fast enough.

    • gilda says:

      Betcha he’ll “walk” with his class though!

      • Amen to that. And knowing him the way I do, lard butt will very likely shake down Grandmom and anybody else in the family for graduation money.

      • Sean says:

        Phillie Teacher, it shocks me the money these kids expect and get for graduation now. I think I may have gotten maybe $70 bucks when I graduated in 1975…..I had a kid a last year who “made” $10,000 for graduating from high school. Two years ago, I had a kid get a new Corvette. This year, I have a kid that has been promised a 2011 F250 King Ranch Truck……and we are in a “poor” district.

    • crazedmummy says:

      Hey. he’s texting. What happened to alternative credit?

  21. Cupcake says:

    My principal doesn’t believe in retaining kids.
    Mind you, my principal hasn’t taught for like 25 years.

    He says it doesn’t do the kid any good.
    They are used to failing, he says.

    Actually, they are used to failing without any consequences.
    Also, making examples out of a few might encourage other little lemmings to straighten up.

    But learning isn’t the goal of my urban district. Graduating kids and getting some kind of federal kickback for it is the goal.
    Drop-outs = no money, so don’t let them drop out.
    Being retained and not graduating with their “cohorts” = less money, so none of that, either.
    Once they’re out, their lack of skills isn’t our overpaid, overfed superintendent’s problem.

    Any teacher who stands in the way of those federal dollars will be sorry.

    In an un-surreal universe, here’s what I would do: You fail a core class OR the state test OR you get more than 3 behavior referrals and next year you get to go to a different campus with all the other slackers and thugs.

    No back and forth from alternative school and your regular campus every 6 weeks.
    You stay for 365 days from your entrance date at your slacker school.

    At my school, most kids would wise freaking up.

    In the meantime, though, I have to settle for petty hassling. If you are late or if you play around, you are the last kid to leave the room.
    I also turn a desk to face the wall so the problem kid can sit there. It’s so not fun for them. It’s very boring.
    If they turn around, I take one of those chart-tablets that hangs on a stand to use as a screen.
    No pencil? Then sit there.
    And on and on and on.

    It’s all I have left….

    • GG says:

      It is so ridiculous that you have to do that. But I had to do it too.
      So happy I quit. Thanks to those of you who are hanging in there.

  22. first.year.need.beer says:

    yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

  23. first.year.need.beer says:

    to cupcake that was

  24. Miss Crabtree says:

    Any year need beer. Any day need scotch.

  25. muriel brown says:

    When the parents get held accountable…then we can hope for results.

  26. Whinytheteacher says:

    What I love is that we are four weeks away from the end of the year and suddenly I have parent conferences out the wazoo where I am asked by mommies and administrators what Junior can do to pass my class since he has sat on his butt for 32 weeks and not done a thing – you have to work really hard at doing nothing to earn a 17 in a freshman English class. The math teacher at the same meeting, Junior has a 12 in math, actually said, “Pray for a miracle but save the money for summer school.” I wish I was getting ready to retire like my math colleague! Admin. jumped down his throat for saying it and the rest of us for laughing!

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