Sunday, December 11, 2005

They don't want to work

Reading this post at Tim Fredrick's ELA Teaching Blog reminded me of my 8th grade group. I hear similar complaints from them on a daily basis. Especially when it comes to writing.

"Why do we have to write? We always write when we come here."

"Last year, our ESL teacher let us read. And have parties."

They especially hate it when a lesson continues for more than one day. Here I am proud of myself that I am teaching a lesson that is building on itself and giving the students a chance to expand upon what they learned the previous day and all I get to hear is complaining.

"But we did this yesterday."

"I already did this. I'm not doing it."

"Why are you already teaching us stuff that we already know?"

Basically, it comes down to them just not wanting to work so they give any excuse that they can come up with. About two weeks ago I gave them a writing prompt and all four students refused to do any work. They were in my room for about thirty minutes and between all four students there were two sentences on paper by the time they left the room.

What were they doing for all that time? Two were trying to do their homework from another class. (I repeatedly told them that homework was to be done at home and they had an assignment to do). Another said he couldn't do it because he didn't know how (to read the prompt and write about it).

Last week went a little better. They were somewhat engaged during the instruction part of the lesson. They put up a little resistance at first but then started raising their hands to participate. It all fell apart when it came time to work independently. They just refused.

This is my only group that doesn't want to work. I am trying to make what we do seem relevant but so far it is not working. So far we have spent two days working on writing recipes. (I chose this topic because I noticed that they really liked talking about food so I thought that they would like this assignment.) Tomorrow will be our third day working on this assignment. I can already hear them now saying "Again?" I need to get them to wrap up this assignment before it totally fizzles out. Only one of them has the ingredients listed for the recipe so I'm hoping that tomorrow I can get them focused to finish.

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