Friday, January 28, 2011

Ok, so who's the CoMiserant enrolled in HS Chemistry? Plus an extra-late Friday Thirsty.

So here's a website for approximately four grade levels below what I'm supposed to be working with.  Sadly, it's where I often go to download the four grade levels below worksheets to hand out to the real dead wood to see if I can get them caught up with the rest of the class.  I've been lucky enough not to need them for a couple of years, though I have resorted to the blue and purple books several times in those same years.  I don't give any credit for these worksheets.  They don't count as homework.  They don't count as anything.  I don't even grade them.  I do a few examples during office hours, send them away, and at the next class, I give them a copy of the answer page with a couple more problems worked out.  It's up to them to figure out where they are deficient and how to get caught up.  It's actually worked and some kids I thought were dumber than dirt were able to catch up and get low Bs.  I think this is fair as long as there is no credit attached to the remedial work.  But sometimes I feel funny handing them stuff meant for 10th graders.  So here's the thirsty:

Q:  Does anyone else give remedial work?  Is it ok or should I stop and just tell them to drop the class?

And the bonus note:  It had been so long since I used good ol' Mr. Guch that there was stuff on his site I never saw before.  And I suspect that one of you is a student in his class


  1. Excellent questions to ponder. I had a student ask for a tutor before I had even handed out the syllabus. How much can we "encourage" them to just go away w/o crushing their dreams?

  2. I often feel that an entire course is remedial, often at about a grade five level.

  3. It's kind of you to donate your time in the way you do. You’re not at an R1, are you? If you are, how do you find the time for this? I’m not, and I do a lot of hand-holding myself, and I often wonder whether the "sink-or-swim" approach to education isn't better. What becomes of the students to whom you give this treatment? Low Bs won’t get them into medical school. Whatever the case, I think you're right not to count the remedial work for credit: trouble would soon ensue if you did.

    By the way, the author of the message extolling the virtues of basketweaving to Mr. Guch, one "Susan B. Wyatt, Ph.D.," made a rather serious error, bad enough to make me wonder whether she's real: there is no such place as "the University of Indiana at Bloomington." There is a large university in Bloomington, IN, but its name is Indiana University.

  4. Sadly, I teach at the high school level because I have to to give any B's at all. I bleed for the actual, real A students out there (as opposed to those getting As that would have been Cs or Ds where I went to college). But very few of them take me up on my personal notes to come see me in my office for a more challenging program. They want their easy A.

  5. I teach freshman comp at a CC and routinely sit down with students at the beginning of the semester to walk them through formatting a Word document. Quite a few students who enter at the remedial level cannot navigate the online platform that gives them access to their e-mails and their grades. Hell, quite a few students who enter at the curriculum level don't know how to do that. I suppose you would not do this at an R1 or even at Lower Level State U, but there's a customer service edge to this kind of encouragement that caters to retention. Crush their dreams? Oh, I will, if they can't keep up later, but I see the necessity for this kind of remediation for students who have lived in fairly impoverished communities all their lives. Some take off from there, others, well, repeat. Or drop out.

  6. I'm happy to give help especially if students ask. In Composition, I've run into more than one student with great organization and development in their writing (they are often non-traditional students) who still doesn't have comma rules down. In that case, I have a nifty workbook that I copy handouts out of and will either help during office hours or recommend them to the writing center (which I also run, so that's easy enough).

    I have a lot of trouble turning away anyone who genuinely wants to learn.

    Additionally, when people ask for tutoring on day one, I assume they have been told they are "bad" at the subject before. Often, they aren't. But hey, if you know you need help to get the B or A or whatever you want, more power to you. I know I would need help in some subjects if I went back now!


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