I don't believe in giving up on kids. I really honestly, down in my deepest of deeps, don't believe in giving up. But sometimes, I feel like I am backed against a wall, and am simply trapped, with nowhere left to go with some of them at times.
We have been studying linear equations/functions in math for a while, a LONG while. We have spent over a week on some lessons. That, I expect. I know with my crew, we will never be able to move as quickly as a regular math class would move. But today, after covering the same topics for days upon days. After exploring the ideas multiple ways. After teaching, reteaching, reviewing, using individualized computer instruction, I gave a quiz over the material. One girl scored a 100%. woohoo!!! AND ... She has been absent a TON lately. But the next highest score was a 67, followed by the remainder being 0's or less than 20%'s. Seriously???? How is it possible at this point they still cannot find slope given 2 points?? They 'learned' it as 7th graders, we reviewed it this year, for several days, we applied it to a variety of situations, the formula was still on the board... and yet, they 'can't' find slope??? Find an x and y intercept?? I may as well have asked them to do cartwheels, except I think they'd be more likely to accomplish that.
I struggle with the interruptions, the lack of caring on their part, the lack of personal responsibility, the refusal to do anything independently, the tardies to class(no, not 10 seconds late, but 10 minutes late..), the suspension days, the 20 minute bathroom breaks in the middle of class, the being more interested in tying your shoes than participating in the lesson, the inability to even bring a pencil to class...
I struggle when I try to talk to them about having a job someday and being told they never plan to work. Instead, they plan to be on 'welfare'.
I struggle when a student tells me they feel sorry for ME because I HAVE to go to work everyday. They plan on just staying home like their parents do.
I struggle when I assign 5 problems to do outside of class, over a week long time period, and they do not complete them.
I struggle with the idea that THEIR test scores determine MY worth as a teacher, when I am giving THEM 110% and they are giving me maybe, MAYBE 10%.
I've been at this gig a long time, and I love the kids, most of them, most of the time.
But it seems with every passing year, students care less and less about school and learning. They do not see the value in education. They never plan to use education in their future.
I try to show them the relevance of what we are learning. I try to make it fun. I try to show them I care. I do all the things that SHOULD work.
But for some of them, nothing seems to....
And they go home, and play their video games, and snapchat, and instagram, and watch TV, and I lie awake and wonder why.. and how.. and if...