Monday, March 15, 2010

Books in a classroom

This post is brought to you by books.

How do you teach a class without literature of any kind? I'm supposed to impart knowledge and have my students learn something worth learning in my class. Actually, I'm supposed to have them learn quite a lot worth learning. I'm supposed to get them all ready for college, even if they don't want to go, and I'm supposed to make sure that they have the tools that they need to succeed in college, even if they don't want to go.

And I'm supposed to do this all without a book. Why? The students don't bring their books. I've decided that I'm ok with that. It tells me who wants to learn and who does not. It tells me how many don't care enough to pass the class.

Comments I recieve when I ask students where their book is:
Teacher: Where's your book?
Student 1: In my locker.
Teacher: Go get it!
Student 1: I can't. I forgot the combination.
Teacher: Where's your book?
Student 2: In A's locker.
Teacher: Why can't you go get it?
Student 2: A's not here.
Teacher: Where's your book?
Student 3: I lost it months ago.
Teacher: Where's your book?
Student 4: It's too heavy to carry to class.
Teacher: What do you mean it's too heavy?
Student 4: My locker's all the way over in such-in-such building and I not going to carry that heavy book that far! I'd be late?
(This is a student coming in late)

As an avid bookworm and studious person, this hurts me. I have 4 students out of 180 that bring their book to class. At the start of the semester, I had some of the students leave their books in class so I could have a few copies to use. This was a huge mistake, as these got stolen, drawn in, glued, and ripped up. Now, the students that left theirs in my room are angry with me because they have to replace them. As sorry as I feel for them, they left them in the room so they wouldn't have to carry them to class or remember them.

My policy on this subject has gotten a little bit more jaded this year. I need books to teach - I don't always go exactly along with them but I need some sort of tool to help these kids understand other than listening to me talk. Actually, they don't like that either.

I'm just failing. I'm not good at motivating people to learn. I'm good at explaining information that is complicated to people that are ready to listen and learn.

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