Spring Semester is Around the Corner!

Posted: January 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

If you’re new to the blog, I’ll briefly introduce myself by saying that I am a 28-year-old community college developmental instructor. I teach remedial reading courses to college students. I’d say most of my students are in the age range of 18-30, but sometimes I’ll get high school students attending high school part-time and college part-time, and sometimes I get older students who have not been a part of the world of academia for sometimes up to twenty years.

I am in the process of revising my syllabus because I have decided that this semester I am going to be STRICT STRICT STRICT. I am really focusing on accountability and increased workload. I’m hoping that with my revised methods, I can eliminate some of the ridiculous behaviors that I dealt with last semester. Before I list some of those inappropriate behaviors, I would like to state the fact that students who place into these developmental courses either have a high school diploma or a GED. These classes are not meant for dropouts who are pursuing a GED. They are for students who did not test high enough on the college entrance test.

So here are some unacceptable behaviors that I witnessed in my classes last semester:

(1)students repeatedly showing up to class when they felt like it and coming up with an excuse such as “I was having family issues” or “the bus was late,” (2) those late students then interrupting my lesson with requests such as “can I show you the HW?” or standing directly in front of me with their hand out, expecting me to immediately give them the handout that I gave to the rest of the class 10 minutes ago, (3) constantly texting in class, and on occasion even talking on the phone while in class, (4) walking into class with a bag of McDonald’s food, (5) listening to music on the computers while in lab and ignoring my request to turn it off, (6) watching YouTube clips and messing around with Facebook instead of doing work (once I even caught a student looking at porn), (7) missing multiple classes and not even asking what needed to be made up…

I could go on.

That being said though, I do have many students who are respectful and who I can actually imagine ending up with a college degree one day.

One thing I am doing differently this semester is that I am creating a detailed rubric for everything we do. Class discussion now has a rubric, and students will lose a point for being off-task (On Farmville…that’s a point lost for you!), they will lose a point for being disrespectful (laughing as another student stumbles through text), they will lose points for strolling in late, and they will lose points for lack of preparation (what were we supposed to read??).

I know they are considered adults, but I have learned through experience that mentally, many of these students are very immature and I am not going to go easy on them this semester. I have a feeling that this change will make a noticeable difference. I am also almost doubling the amount of work I had my students complete last semester. These new students are going to WORK WORK WORK!

I have found that attaching a point value to anything I want to see in the classroom is necessary. That is the famous question, even in college (“Is this worth points?”). My new strategy is that unacceptable behaviors are worth negative points. Once students get the hang of the new system I’m putting into place, I’m expecting sessions to run much more smoothly (and I’ll keep you posted as to how it all goes).

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Samantha A. Murray says:

    Looking forward to hearing how the semester progresses with your new system in place. Classroom management on any level is challenging, and the behaviors you listed are completely unacceptable – whew! I can tell that you’ve put a great deal of thought into your revisions and I hope you’ll see improvements!!

  2. Looking forward to hearing how the semester progresses with your new system in place. Classroom management on any level is challenging, and the behaviors you listed are completely unacceptable – whew! I can tell that you’ve put a great deal of thought into your revisions and I hope you’ll see improvements!!
    P.S.: Wanted to say great post!

  3. akilah says:

    Wow! I am in awe that your students behave this way, aren’t they paying for this class, what a waste of money. Sounds like you need me to pray to sweet little baby jesus on your behalf.

    This is what I’m trying to avoid with my 7th grade son, he’s in private school and they are strict but just the gall of some of this behavior from anyone over 18 is ridiculous. Good Luck.

    Oh, I follow you on twitter so thanks for some of the links you’ve posted,

    • mdeducator81 says:

      Thanks for the comment! Some of the behaviors that my high school graduates bring into the college classroom are unbelievable! Unfortunately, some students still have not matured to the point where they are ready for the adult world. They are at the point where their parents are starting to panic because they are still living at home, not working, and not taking college seriously. I had a parent say to me, “I know my daughter is an adult, but I feel like I’m still in charge because she lives under my roof and I support her financially!” She said, “She has to get a job and move out!” I think a lot of parents are dealing with the same dilemma.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s