Monday, October 4, 2010

Sub vs. Students

Broken cat, broken trust.

So of course there has to be some sort of conflict with the sub.

Sub's story:
- a stack of homework passes that I provided for the sub to give to "good" students went missing
- said any of three students could have taken it
- had put the stack on the overhead projector, and then the next moment, they were gone

Now, I've only taught for a little more than a month, but I'm pretty sure of these two things:
a) It is a seriously DUMB ASS idea to put anything temptation-worthy in an open, high traffic space without intense supervision.
b) I believe those three accused students slightly more than the sub.

(Side question: Does this make me gullible? Or does this make my students really good liars? Or have I fallen into the trap of believing my students because I want to see only the good in them, and thus I've become blinded to their faults? This worries me....must do more reflection on this topic.)

I did speak to all three today. I also spoke to my "eyes and ears" (the students who I asked to take notes of what happened during the class) who were surprisingly detailed. Nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. According to all records (even the sub's notes; minus the theft of course), it was basically like I had been there.

In the end, I decided to make all homework passes invalid, as well as cutting off using it as a prize for the rest of the term. Homework passes are a privilege. I give them out because I want my students to have a meaningful reward for their hard work. But somehow, that failed. They were too greedy, and now the system is ruined for everyone.

On a related note: I've got to balance give students a second chance/self-correction with having them serve the consequence of their actions. So far this year, I've only given one detention, and I had a student write a formal apology letter to another student. By this time last year, in the 5th-6th split class, I had given out AT LEAST 10 recess detentions. There is no comparison in maturity with elementary and middle school. There must be even less in high school.

But still. Gotta work on cracking down and following through. I don't want to be too much of a softie on them. They need to follow through with their actions too.


Deb-chan here! ^-^/ said...

Hmm... have any students earned homework passes prior to this incident? If so, that's pretty sad for them to have their reward essentially disappear like that. ._. Of course you have to use your best judgment, and you generally do an excellent job with that... but is it really fair to punish the group because of an individual? =\

I don't mean to ask that question as if there's an obvious answer, just as something to think about... since I was usually the good kid, saving my reward (like adults always told me to do with money) in case I really needed it later, only to have it suddenly disappear because of some jerk misbehaving. ;-;

Maybe in the future you could include a mark in your own records when you give you a pass, then cross it out later when that student uses the pass? That way the kids who earned passes earlier could still use them in this situation, and you could still decide not to pass out any more this term as a way of saying "this is not ok" about the theft. Marking who got passes would also be a way to check that students aren't selling them to each other, if that's something you'd care to prevent.

bun2bon said...

I've thought about it a lot, and asked some other teachers what they would do. In the end, I have to take away the privilege because whoever took the homework passes could give them away, or sell them, to other students.

I would start making a list, but I haven't figured out an efficient, non-time consuming, and error-free method of keeping track of who has how many homework passes throughout the year among my 160 students. I would rather spend that time developing meaningful lessons than keeping track of their paperwork. =p But I'll keep thinking about it. It's not something I've completely thrown out as impossible - but I know I wouldn't be able to juggle it well with the level I'm at right now.

Deb-chan here! ^-^/ said...

Yeah, don't worry about it if it's too much to juggle - keeping your head above water is top priority! '-'/

As for a method to keep track, maybe you could just have lists (one list per class) of all the student's names organized in a small 3-ring binder (or some such thing) stashed in a desk drawer somewhere. Then when you give a pass to a student, put a square by their name and then put a check in the square when they use it. Personally I wouldn't pull it out during class, I'd just keep track mentally and do it between periods, so the students wouldn't necessarily know what you're doing and try to find a way to get their hands on it and make marks in there themselves...

But, with a bajillion students and you being a first year teacher and all (even if you were a 2nd or 3rd year teacher), I totally understand if you just don't wanna deal with this until you've gotten more experience on how to juggle and balance everything. '-'/

Props to you for doing as awesomely as you are doing!!! (~^o^)~ I don't know if you can see it, being you're with yourself all the time and all, but you've REALLY grown a lot of m4d l33t sk1llz!!! ^o^/ You are doing excellently, and it seems maybe you can't see the full extent of it yourself... so congrats and pats on the back to you! ^-^/ You should get a free paperwork pass! b^-^d

bun2bon said...

What kind words, Deb. =) I appreciate them, and you!

It is hard to see myself outside of myself...I wonder what it's like.

Ganbattimasu! (sp?)