Saturday, November 11, 2006

Well We Got No Class and We Got No Principles

Here is a picture of my Aunt's dog.

We are nearing the end of the trimester, and with it's closing, new truths are being revealed. On Wednesday night, Stinky handed me grade reports from two different classes to sign. One was a B and one was a C. I've always said to the girls I didn't care about what grades they got as long as they tried hard. So, if they racked their brains every day in a class and got a C, I would be okay with it, but if they got a B because they didn't turn in assignments or because they didn't study for tests, then I'd be disappointed. Stinky had zeros marked down for assignments in both classes.

At the beginning of the tri, I told the girls that I would trust them to be responsible for their work until they gave me cause not to. I meant it to be empowering for them, but Stinky has taken it as a challenge. She seems to have worked all semester trying to see how many different ways she could lose my trust academically and she really has done a great job. During the tri, I have asked her if she finished her readings and completed her assignments and each time she said yes and showed me what page she was on (she lied). I've even sat down with her and watched her finish an assignment, only to hear later that she didn't turn it in because she folded it a hundred different times, put the piece of paper in her pocket and it fell out somewhere in the hallway before class. Apparently in Stinky's world, there are a plethora of ways to mess up an assignment.

On Wednesday when I found out about her missing homework, I made it my mission to figure out how to fix things. The trimester doesn't end until Monday so we had a couple of days to chip away at it. We mostly worked on positive and negative reinforcement - because I was pissed off, it was mainly negative. Since I remember being in junior high and high school, I had some great ideas for deterrents. The biggest one for me at that age, was the threat of my legal guardians actually coming to school and talking to my teacher in person, so I posed that to Stinky. Judging from her violent reaction, it proved to be an effective deterrent for her as well. I also detailed a list of things that could be taken away from her if she didn't start getting shit handed in on time. Then she asked what she'd get if she earned straight A's. I told her I'd think about it, but she already had a suggestion. What if she got a new pair of shoes for straight A's? Not understanding shoe love, I would never have thought up that one on my own, but it seemed totally reasonable, so I agreed.

By Thursday night Stinky was in tears. When we spoke of the straight A reward, I had been thinking it was something for her to work on for the following trimester, but Stinky had meant it for the current one. In her head, she was going to rectify three months of slacking in just a few days. At first, I was astonished that she could even think that was possible, but then I remembered every finals week during college, and realized that those delusions could be passed on through DNA.

7 comments:

Sarah said...
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Sarah said...

oh my god poor you guys. what a pain. can you PLEASE tell stinky for me how she has NO IDEA now, I know, but what a huge HUGE weight off her future life it will be for her to just learn to do assignments (especially the dumb and/or hard ones) right away and turn them in will be? If there was one thing in my life I could go back and change, it would be to have learned the habits of the good student. Seriously. Please tell her though it seems like it's completely in vain it is not at all, and those skills will actually open up so many options to her...

Churlita said...

I know. We had a long talk on Thursday night about just that and how bad I was at that and that's why I'm working so hard with her now.

We're also working on the organizations skills part - you know how everything gets eaten up in her locker and how she needs to spend 2 minutes putting everything away in a certain place so she can find it. Again, these have always been my problems, so I get to feel guilt about her being like that too.

Neil said...

I think talking to the teacher anyway is a good idea... even if she doesn't know about it. I hear from other teachers that they like specific feedback from a parent.

Churlita said...

Yeah, I've met all her teachers before and they have a system set up for e-mails. Mostly, she's one of the kids who need to be hounded, and I have to learn to be better at doing that.

akelly said...

Oh shes is so junior high - my brief experience teaching is that secondary school is set up for students --- any students if they just turn in the stupid papers they pass and usually with very decent grades - it is such a mind numbing system some times but tell Stinky to just work it baby!

Churlita said...

I know that and you know that, but she keeps complaining about how boring it is. Really? Because my job is simply fascinating all day long. I suppose in that respect, junior high is good training for working shit jobs.