Monday, April 23, 2012

Extra Credit Homework

On Friday I was back at the continuation high school. English class. They were working on essays.

It seems like every time I cover this teacher lately, the class is writing some essay. Not that I mind. I think I know enough grammar that I can be of help to them. And it's good that they're practicing their writing. I just find it curious.

The class had been working on the essay for the week. The teacher left them some extra credit if they were already finished. They should have all had something to work on, she said.

I was a bit surprised when most of them did, in fact, work. Many finished their essays and turned them in. Many of them asked for the extra credit as well.

Extra credit at the continuation high school isn't like extra credit elsewhere. This particular assignment was worth a half credit, as in one half of one of the 40 credits they need to complete in English to graduate. This may not seem like a lot, but by the time they get to this English class, they've got more than 20 of those credits already.

And if they're close to graduating, that half credit can make all the difference.

Several of them chose not to do the assignment. In 6th period, the conversation turned to Jersey Shore. I walked over and stood over the boys. Didn't they want to do the extra credit assignment?

One of the boys told me he'd do it at home. The continuation high school doesn't really give homework as most of the students wouldn't do it. (If they did homework, they wouldn't be at the continuation high school.) The boy explained that at home his sister would force him to watch more Jersey Shore, and he didn't want to do that.

I didn't believe him, but as the class was pretty mellow, I wasn't too concerned. At the end of the period as they were packing up, I noticed that the boy wasn't taking the assignment with him. I wasn't surprised, but I decided to say something anyway.

"Oops, I almost forgot."

He surprised me and actually took the assignment with him. Now, whether or not he'll do it...


  1. I wonder if the teacher is getting them ready for a state tests. In any school I've worked in, we work on the skill in earnest for the 1-2 months before the exam.

    Hopefully that boy did the assignment.

  2. I believe we've stumbled on a new way to get kids to do homework: force them to watch Jersey Shore. I know it would make me want to do pretty much anything that's not watching Jersey Shore.


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