23 October 2007

The Lifeboat

I understand that my task as a teacher is to get all of my kids to standard---even the ones who have to be dragged there kicking and screaming. For maybe the first year ever, I can honestly say that I can't think of a single kid I see all day who is a reluctant learner. This doesn't mean that they are all Lake Wobegon children (all above average). I have some that are not terribly bright, others who are classic underachievers, and still a few who---on a daily basis---inspire me to want to pinch off their noggins and use them for bowling balls. But the bottom line is that when I talk with these kids one on one about their work, they ask questions and listen to comments. I think they believe that I genuinely care about their success.

That being the case, I have a problem to solve.

I'm tracking data on my kiddos. I can tell you who knows the difference between a manipulated, responding, and controlled variable...who can construct a hypothesis...and who can conclude their way out of a paper sack. But as you imagine, there are sprinklings out of the 120 kiddos who can't do one or more of those items...and there are still more skills to learn. I have an intervention plan in mind for the kids who are just about to make it over the bar: the ones who need 15 minutes of intense work and a bit of practice to cement things.

But I have about 10 kids who appear to be utterly clueless. Is there a lifeboat for them? They want to row with the others, but how do I get the time to give them the significant attention they need to catch up with the rest of us? I don't want to pull them from their other classes. The other biology teachers don't want to help. Do I contract with the kids (and parents) for some after school or weekend work? Do I ask for a sub to manage the bulk of my kids while I shepherd the few lost lambs during a class period? How do I keep these kids from going under?


Clix said...

I'd get a sub, if I knew I could get someone GOOD. How do you do that? I mean, since you'll stil be THERE, and working too! Do you request a professional day to tutor the students who're behind?

The Science Goddess said...

I think that would be the plan---get a day of professional leave, but still be at school working. I'll float it by the principal and see what happens.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

That would be a breakthrough, SG, because you're confronting the classic dilemma -- how to facilitate success with limited resources.

Wonder how many other teachers would buy into such a plan if it was available?

The Science Goddess said...

At my school? Probably none. Hey, if kids don't get it, it must be their fault, right?

I did the band-aid intervention today and it was well received. The principal has agreed to provide some sub days for me...so we'll see what happens.

I just hate to think that kids who want to learn and want help can't get all that they need.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Well done, SG!

Hugh aka Repairman