Thursday, February 7, 2013

What college students want to tell their high school teachers: Be tougher on us. Force us to be responsible. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

1. Give us a syllabus on the first day of class that has the schedule for the class planned out for the whole semester (e.g., tests dates, deadlines for papers, and grading scales), and then stick to that syllabus the way college professors do.

2. Don’t tell us at the end of each class what we will be during the next class period. That allows us to be irresponsible because we don’t have to read the syllabus to know what we are expected to do. Please help us to become as responsible as possible when we leave high school and go to college.

3. Don’t accept lame or undocumented excuses about why we don’t have assignments done, and don’t allow us to sweet talk you into letting us make up tests that we are unprepared to take. College professors seldom accept these types of excuses because they try to be fair by making sure all their students have the same amount of time to study for tests.



  1. LOL, that is freakin' hilarious. #1 especially cracks me up. I teach HS. We meet daily. So far this year we've had a full week cancelled for a hurricane, two snow days, and several "late starts" due to weather, which result in shortened class periods. We've had assemblies run into class time, sports games take kids out of class early, five teachers wanting to give a test on the same day, and only about eighteen million other unpredictable disruptions. I can barely plan assignments two weeks at a time; anything beyond that is *lightly* penciled in. So sure, kid, I'll write some shit down for you in August, call is a syllabus, and you can pretend to be "responsible" and read it. Just don't file it in the non-fiction section, k?

  2. Good lord, I just pulled myself together after the laughing fit caused by suggestion #1 and read MORE!

    Are the freshman psych students kidding with #s 3 through 6!?

    Hellfire you Frosh numbskulls! We can't do ANY of that shite you suggest there because if we did, your parents would fly their helicopters straight up our asses and get all in our grills from the INside until we stopped being so "unfair" to their precious spawn.

    If we could only harness it, high school students and some their parents could provide enough green energy to power planet forever though the sheer force of their sense of righteous indignation.

    I love the part about not wanting us to accept "undocumented excuses." Right, like when your family took you out of school for a week to go skiing at Telluride, and now they're at DEFCON-1 alert status because you had to take the test when you got back? Yeah, that was hiLARious.

    I could go on, but I need to check if we have a snow day tomorrow to see if I can shift my drinking into professional mode yet.

    1. Love it, Surly. You are on fire this week!

    2. I think this shows a way in which students mind find their teachers to be nstural allies. They want us to permanently ground the helicopters.

  3. I like the bit about testing things that are in the reading but not covered in class. I stopped by my husband's classroom last week. It was the night before semester tests. Half the desks had textbooks left under them. Apparently, some high school students can absorb information through their asses and don't need to actually read the text.

  4. Would be unfair to do to high school students what can't be done to alleged adults in university.

  5. And here is the problem with "customer oriented" education. The current customer wants it easier, the future self wishes it had been harder. But the future self doesn't fill out course evals (or ground helicopter parents).

  6. Until student evaluations no longer drive how younger faculty are judged and retained, babying of students is going to continue.

  7. 1. I do give you a syllabus. You throw it away right after we go over it. It has the same rules that you have heard every day since kindergarten, yet you act shocked everytime someone holds you to them.

    2. If I didn't say at the beginning, middle and end of class what is due, as well as post it on the board and online, the third of the class that does the homework would say they did't know.

    3. Umm... don't be a douche canoe in the first place. And also, don't call us mean or bitchy when we do what you ask (not accept excuses).

    4. We try to hold you to high academic standards. We do the same lesson EVERY SEMESTER about how to properly cite sources. Yet when you copy your work, we are expected to explain what you did wrong, how to properly cite sources (again) and make sure you understand how to avoid plagiarizing in the future (even though we already went over this ad nauseam in class). We are also expected to let you redo the assignment with no penalty. Plagiarizing is now an opportunity to redo the assignment for a better grade and that is the administration's fault. (Several English teachers proposed doing an extensive lesson on plagiarism and how to avoid it in class (which we do anyway) and giving each student a form to sign that acknowledges they know what it is and what the consequences are. Administration decided that even if students sign the form, they are likely to make the same mistakes, and we should show that we understand of the plight of young writers )

    5. Hey, you were a pretty awesome student if you did your homework and you deserve an A just for that. We have students who don't show up, ever, and don't do ANYTHING, and we are forced to pass them.

    6. I just asked my class what else I can do to get them to pass the reading quizzes besides spoon feeding them. We read the text in class, I explain it as we read. Then we watch TWO different versions of the film. Then they answer comprehension questions. And still, many of them fail. So perhaps I should just give them an A for showing up.

  8. stick to that syllabus the way college professors do

    <wipes away tears of laughter>

    If I did that, 3/4 of my class would be failing right the fuck now. The one student who is actually smart is just as appalled as I am, as far as I can tell. But I'm forced to spin my wheels with in-class exercises until they manage to cram the rather simple rules of what constitutes a coherent explanation into their heads, or they won't be able to handle the rest of the semester -- which depends on those rules.

  9. Don’t let us pass classes just because we earned a lot of homework points or extra credit.

    Dear God, that's wonderful.

    1. But the teachers are forced to do so by their principals, school boards, counties, states, parents, and the U.S. government. My sibling works as a high school teacher and he isn't allowed by his principal to give a grade below 50 for any student. The county has a "race to graduate" agenda that makes it practically impossible to fail any student regardless if s/he cares at all about his/her grades. To make matters worse, my state is trying to remove tenure from K-12 teachers and base pay and employment on "student success."

      Tl;dr: We're scuppered. :(

  10. I teach a hands-on, project oriented class at a public high school. All of those make me laugh. I am required to accept late work (even on projects that have 2 weeks of class work time!!), reschedule tests, allow retakes as many times as they want, and adjust my syllabus for all kinds of scheduled-at-the-last-minute interruptions of my class. It's a wonder so many manage to fail, but at least I am allowed to fail the ones who can't manage to pass even with all of the interventions.


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