Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fighting the Assignment

"This is hard."

Me: "I know."

I heard the same complaint three times today--once for each period of freshman English. My response was the same for all.

They read "Rules of the Game" by Amy Tan sometime last week. Today they were to pull quotes that demonstrated indirect characterization and explain what the quotes said about the character.

It was a challenging assignment. It probably would have been less challenging if they stopped complaining and started doing it.

I read directly from the lesson plan. They had the period. If they weren't finished by the end of the period, they wouldn't get full credit. I even read a bit about the assignment being "individual" and not "group work". I would have thought that would be enough to get them working. It wasn't.

As I collected the assignment one period, I picked up one paper from a boy who had just copied the questions. When I asked him why he had done nothing, he told me that he didn't understand the assignment. Really? He didn't bother to ask me to explain?

I explained numerous times all three periods what they were to do. The teacher said that they had done a similar assignment the previous week. I pointed this out to one girl. She asked me why they had to do another indirect characterization assignment then.

Finally, the last group of the day seemed to get it. They were still unsure, but they didn't fight me. They attempted to do the work. Unsurprisingly, most of them were able to get the thing done.

They have a test on the story tomorrow. (I'm due to go back.) I wonder how well that will go.


  1. Well if he doesn't ask, then he doesn't learn how to do it and then it's someone else's fault for not explaining it. That's the kind of logic I remember using, anyway.

  2. JEFritz already said what i was going to, so yeah i agree with that completelly haha


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