Thursday, January 7, 2010

It wasn't like that for me...

So, tell me was your high school experience? Were you a good student? Did you get along with the other kids? Did you get along with your teachers? Did you have lots of friends? Did you appreciate or respect your teachers, or did you never consider that they were actually real people?

This has been a difficult year for me. I am currently half way through my first year of teaching high school English. The school I am at is a VERY small town school. Small as in the entire school (K-12) might have a total of 300 students. There are only two English teachers in the high school. Throughout the course of my day I see 7th graders, two 9th grade classes (the boys and girls are separated), 10th grade, 11th grade, and 12th grade. My largest class consists of 22 kids and my smallest has 6. But, this really isn't a shocker for me. My own high school was about the same size.

I am very impatient with people sometimes. This is definitely something I have to work on dealing with kids on a daily basis. While this has been a difficult career move for me, I am learning a lot. The thought that has most often gone through my mind though is "I was never like this in high school."

I had a very good high school experience. I was involved in all the extra curriculars, I played basketball and softball. I made pretty good grades, nothing outstanding, mostly A's and B's. I had plenty of friends and actually enjoyed going to school. So, maybe I have a biased view of the high school experience. And for the most part, I liked all of my teachers, even if I didn't like them, I respected them. My parents raised me to respect adults and not to speak to them in certain ways. I worried about my grades and always tried to do my best. I have to say, I was a pretty good student and I know most of my teachers liked me as well.

But, these kids that I am now dealing with are the laziest, most disrespectful uncaring kids I have ever seen or known in my life. They literally do NOTHING! The thought of failing a class doesn't bother them in the least. The speak to me in ways that I would never have even thought of speaking to an adult, much less a teacher! They back talk, smart mouth, don't listen, yell, cuss, and throw such fits when things don't go their way. These students aren't accountable for anything and their sense of responsibility is nonexistent.

My point in all this is, I am terrified for these kids to graduate and get out in the real world. I honestly don't think the majority of them will make it. They are all so spoiled and are graduating with no knowledge of how to survive in the world. Actually, I don't understand how they are graduating at al considering they never do any work. I'm at a very frustrated point right now. I literally don't know what to do when the students won't do their part. I mean, I can only do so much. I'm to the point that I feel like as long as I get up and teach the lesson, then I've done my part. If they don't do the assignments or pass the tests, its no longer my problem. I can't FORCE them to read when they go home at night.

These types of feelings frighten me. I'm not even through my first year of teaching and I am already at my wits end. Current statistics show that the majority of new teachers don't stay in the field more than three years before moving on to another career. This is why there is such a demand for teachers right now, no one wants to continue teaching after they have actually been in the classroom. And I'm beginning to understand why.

So, tell me, how was you high school experience, is this the kind of student you were, how did you treat your teachers, how did they treat you?

I'm all about suggestions, ideas, or thoughts about how to make things better/easier for myself.


  1. I think a lot has changed since our generation was in high school-
    One of my roommates taught junior-high last year and had similar feelings about her first year of teaching. She felt burnt-out everyday and that there was no possible way to get these kids to respect/listen to her.

    Its really a shame that kids today lack the respect that many of us were told was absolutely necessary.

    I am not a teacher myself, but I have heard many times other teacher's reccomending this book: "Teaching with Love and Logic" here is the link and there are some good reviews on here as well...

    Hope this helps!

  2. When I saw the title of this blog I thought hmmm ... interesting how exactly was my high school experience? But then once you started to describe the way your students act I thought, wow! Mine was nothing like that! Just like you I was raised to know that you respect adults whether you like them or not, they are adults; especially teachers you don't disrespect them you learn from them!

    I was the type of student that got about average grades, somewhere between high C's and mid B's. I did my work, but I was definitely more into sports than I was school. HOWEVER, I didn't disrespect my teachers, I NEVER cursed at them, I did my homework, I did my work in class, I went to SCHOOL! I think that children these days are given too many choices. They are losing sight of the important things in life, such as manners, respect, self-respect, maturity and the main one RESPONSIBILITY! Do they not understand how important and necessary for survival an education is!?

    I recently had my first son and I see how children act these days and I just can't believe it! The subjects that they talk about, the language they use ... I think ultimately kids are growing up too fast. They don't understand that they are KIDS, they are supposed to be going to school, doing well and working toward the rest of their lives! Instead their focus is drugs, clothes, cars, girls/boys, material items, parties, etc. Maybe I was nerdy in high school or just oblivious but I didn't know half of what these kids know, I was pretty innocent until well into my senior year! Some freshmen know far more than I even do to this day! Its amazing!

    Finally, teachers are important and i have quite a few friends who went to college for this, and started their first year of teaching and can't believe they have to be doing this for a living! I'll tell you what I tell them! We NEED teachers! Try not to concentrate on the whole of the class, but if you help one person, if you change one student, if you reach one student you've done your job! You've accomplished what you've set out to do! Start small then work big!

    I wish you the best! I truly enjoy your blog! :) I've just become a follower, i'm new to blogging so I only have a few on my page! :)

    GOOD LUCK! :)

  3. Oh no! Those kids sound like my classmates now...except my classmates are all 20-something graduate students! Ugh...I feel your frustration. :(

    I just had a long talk with one of my teachers about this the other day, and we're both quite sad about it. It saddens me that I've become a student who has lost respect for my fellow students and coursemates.

    I'm actually delayed, I was originally supposed to graduate 2008 but because of medical reasons and because I'm terrible at mathematics, I'm graduating this year instead. So I have seen how with each succeeding batch I end up with, things just seem to get worse and worse. :(