Saturday, December 22, 2007

the empowerment of toddlers. Well, okay, not toddlers...

but teenagers. At this point in time the teenagers in this country have more power than you. No seriously they do. We live in a society that has coddled our youngins, taught them that they are special, really, really special, and that trying something is as good as doing it. Don't like little league? Try pop warner maybe that will make you happy. Team didn't win the game, no problem! Ice cream for everyone and here's your ribbon because there is no such thing as first place. And what is the result? An incorrigible group of surly, barely legals that think this world, and you, owe them something. Now let me qualify this by saying that not every child I taught in the last three years exemplifies this type of behavior -- but at least 70% of them do and that, to me, is a problem. Ironically, I've noticed this pattern of behavior more often in the boys than the girls. But let me tell you from first hand experience that if you have the misfortune of getting one of these star-crossed and ill-fated females, put on a helmet and run. Case Study #1: John John was caught blatantly plagiarizing on English assignments on three separate occasions. The first time I sat John down with his poem and the exact poem that was taken off some generic poetry site where 4th graders can upload there incredibly awful work. John explains to me that it's not plagiarizing as he was only borrowing this other person's ideas. Kind of like a found poem. Except he used every word verbatim. I explain to John that the penalty (school rule, not mine) for plagiarism is that he gets a zero for the assignment. I show him his new grade -- 67, down from a 98 -- and he says to me and I quote, because I am not creative enough to make this up on my own: "What are you going to do to get my grade back to that 98?" To which I replied, "nothing, I will do no work to improve your grade that is your job." His response: "well what kind of extra credit are you going to give me then?" How is it that I owe this child anything? He cheated and it was on an easy assignment! Why am I having a two hour conversation which circles around the understanding that the conversation isn't over unless I personally take the blame for his actions. Not going to happen. Case Study #2: Tess Tess arrives daily at 9:30. School starts at 7:30. For being perpetually late she gets extended detention which she always skips. Fair deal, no? Tess has the foulest mouth anyone has ever heard. She says things that make me uncomfortable and I have pretty thick skin. She is in anger management classes because she has problems with people telling her what to do. She has excuses for everything and an attitude to match. The final piece of writing she receives back from me is a feature article. The requirements for the article are that 1.) it has an interview 2.) it has a side bar story to accompany the article 3.) it has photos and 4.) that the main article is written with a headline, subheadline and is at least 2500 words. Upon receiving her feature article grade which was submitted without an interview, photos, and a subheadline and was riddled with factual errors she sees that her assignment has been given a C- "What the f**k am I in this class for if you are just going to give me a C-? I think, my dear, that you earned that C- grading isn't that subjective. There are very few repercussions for poor student behavior. As a teacher you have very little power. The power that you do exert is often followed up by an irate parent phone call explaining why little Tommy deserves and opportunity to submit all of his assignments 7 weeks after they were due for full credit. Kids are required to take on no responsibility for their actions, and if they are assigned responsibility (I say assigned because they don't accept responsibility, someone else just tells them they are responsible) the consequences aren't punishment. I have a good friend who was a college music teacher. Not at Juliard or anything, just a local community college. He did it for fun in his retirement. He stopped teaching music two years ago when a student who skipped his class 14 times in one semester failed and filed a formal complaint against him with the college for failing him. The student's mom called this man and harangued him for months. Why bother? I would have died of sheer embarrassment if my mom ever called my teacher, forget about if she called my professor. You dig a grave and you lie in it. If you'd rather lie in a bed, then make one! It's really not that hard. We are in for a huge crisis in this country, and I am going to sit back and enjoy it. See we are raising a generation of infidels who think that just showing up is good enough and if they get bored they can stop showing up altogether and that's fine too. By the year 2040 it is expected that the Social Security well will have run dry. For the oldest of the Millennial generation that is at their ripe old age of 57. This generation of worknevers and do nothings will hit the end of their barely working life to find that their escapades, boredom and subsequential job hopping has brought them nowhere. Their government will be without a safety net to catch all of their failure. In their best fashion they will point the finger at everyone else, they will throw a tantrum and those mommies that haven't yet passed on will make a few calls to the White House on their behalf. That is what they'll get, and by get I mean deserve, for embracing mediocrity and running with it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Back to TOP  

Pin It button on image hover