Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Puppy Paper

Today I covered a high school special ed. English class. Each period was doing the same thing--they were working on a writing assignment.

They had gotten the writing assignment on Tuesday. They should have already finished it. Today they were supposed to learn how to peer edit. And for those that did the assignment, it worked out fine. But not everyone had done the assignment.

The instructional assistant (IA) went over the editing process with the students that had done the paper. I was supervising the students who had not.

There were two groups of non-completers. Group one was made up of students who had been absent. Those students needed a bit of an explanation ("A puppy followed your sister home. You need to tell her how to take care of it so that Mom and Dad will let her keep it."), and then they were on their way.

Group two was my main problem. They hadn't done the paper on Tuesday because they didn't want to. And they were having none of it today.

There is nothing quite so exhausting as watching students not work. Their lack-of-work ethic is strong. They would rather stare at a blank sheet of paper than write something on it. They would rather spend 15 minutes telling me how boring the assignment is, and then spend the rest of the class telling me that they don't have enough time to finish the thing now.

So, occasionally I would walk over, say something they ignored, and then go, sit, and watch the IA conduct class with those that put some effort into their schoolwork.

I am now ready for a nap.

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