What are some frustrations?What are some of your frustrations with students today in your classrooms?  Just curious as to some of the issues that teachers/professors/instructors are dealing with...

What are some frustrations?

What are some of your frustrations with students today in your classrooms?  Just curious as to some of the issues that teachers/professors/instructors are dealing with on a consistent basis.

Asked on by kwoo1213

29 Answers | Add Yours

ajmchugh's profile pic

ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I agree with the apathy issue.  So many people who have idealistic views about education insist that good teachers can motivate just about anyone.  I'd love to agree with this statement (and I do think it can be true in so many cases), but sometimes, students simply don't care.  Much of the time, this kind of apathy is directly related to the lack of a parent/guardian who values education.  I have to admit--if I were a student whose parents didn't care at all about my grades or schooling, what motivation would I have to succeed?  As a teacher, I do my best every day to motivate my students to do their very best.  But I've also learned, over the years, that I'm just not able to motivate everyone.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Agreeing with other editors, one of the most frustrating things for me is students who are only in it for the marks and are not interested in anything else - they only pay attention to what I say if they know they are going to be tested on it and only make notes in the same way. Whatever happened the joy of learning?!

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

You would think since I teach in a classical school that I would have less problems with apathy, and in some sense I do, but not nearly as much as you would expect.  I really try to motivate students with interesting projects to complete.  For example, I often have students use artwork or other media to address literature.  I got some awesome drawings of memorable scenes from the Inferno from some of my more artistic students.  I also frequently have students write scenes for movies from either literature or history (I teach both - the life of a private school teacher: six preps/day) or pitch a movie idea to the class of would be investors.  I also use contests to motivate students.  I have a Medieval Hall of Fame contest at least once/year where students have to become a medieval writer, historical figure, or artist and convince the class why he/she should be in the Medieval Hall of Fame.  The kids get into it and often even dress the part.  Then they vote for several winners writing the reasons they vote for those they choose.  The winners get lunch on me.  It is a constant process to make the learning fun enough so they enjoy it and to make the connections so that they can see some relevance to their lives.  It works with some students but not with others.  I keep plugging away.  I would be interested in other ideas.

Love your idea for the Medieval Hall of Fame contest!  That is great!

Some of the professors at my college have their students act out scenes from Shakespearean plays (they must dress up and they can bring their own props for their scenes) and they must also make a large poster about their play.  The winner gets free lunch. 

jilllessa's profile pic

jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

You would think since I teach in a classical school that I would have less problems with apathy, and in some sense I do, but not nearly as much as you would expect.  I really try to motivate students with interesting projects to complete.  For example, I often have students use artwork or other media to address literature.  I got some awesome drawings of memorable scenes from the Inferno from some of my more artistic students.  I also frequently have students write scenes for movies from either literature or history (I teach both - the life of a private school teacher: six preps/day) or pitch a movie idea to the class of would be investors.  I also use contests to motivate students.  I have a Medieval Hall of Fame contest at least once/year where students have to become a medieval writer, historical figure, or artist and convince the class why he/she should be in the Medieval Hall of Fame.  The kids get into it and often even dress the part.  Then they vote for several winners writing the reasons they vote for those they choose.  The winners get lunch on me.  It is a constant process to make the learning fun enough so they enjoy it and to make the connections so that they can see some relevance to their lives.  It works with some students but not with others.  I keep plugging away.  I would be interested in other ideas.

pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What are some frustrations?

What are some of your frustrations with students today in your classrooms?  Just curious as to some of the issues that teachers/professors/instructors are dealing with on a consistent basis.

Right now, I am teaching Macbeth to the Junior class and they are impatient to get through it quickly.  In my experience, Shakespeare is to be savored, not rushed through in a hurry.  I love Shakespeare, I most enjoy peeling away the layers to discover all the interpretation that lies beneath the story, the plot and the characters. 

I really enjoy interpreting literature and my class, especially now as the weather in NY gets warmer, has no patience for exploring the depths and delights of literature, especially Shakespeare.

There are times, when I feel like a Victorian in a class full of barbarians.  My students are good kids, but when I get into Shakespeare, they look at me like I just stepped out of the 18th century.  They think I am too proper, I always remind them to follow the rules and why they are important.  I have children of my own, 20 and 22, but it never ceases to amaze me how little 16 and 17 year olds understand about life, rules and consequences.  Shakespeare teaches us a valuable lesson, about life, rules and consequences.  So, I hope that with the 28 days of instruction that we have left, I can impart some value to them that will give light to their intellectual darkness.  Every day, I try!!!!  And I teach Sophomores too! But that, my fellow teachers is another story.  

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

One more frustration:

What's with seniors who decide to drop out in their last semester?

Yesterday I got between two boys who were exchanging words in the hallway. One was a freshman bully (this is his second confrontation in less than a week), and the other is a senior. I got the senior up against the lockers (I'm a big woman) and lambasted him. He was red in the face and ready to kill the freshman. I told him he was stupid to risk expulsion when graduation is only 6 weeks away. He said he didn't care because he's joining the Marines.

ARGH!!!!

How do you deal with this mentality????

Wow!  That is incredible that this senior would willingly throw away graduating simply because he is going into the Marines.  This is really sad.  Had he been kicked out, he would regret it years down the road, most likely, instead of regretting it soon after.  What bothers me about this mentality is that when I did something wrong while growing up (something I purposely did in spite of knowing the consequences), I would be consumed by guilt!  It seems that many younger people today don't have that fear of consequences or retribution, etc. 

You're right. People really have bought into the "live for this moment" nonsense.

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

One more frustration:

What's with seniors who decide to drop out in their last semester?

Yesterday I got between two boys who were exchanging words in the hallway. One was a freshman bully (this is his second confrontation in less than a week), and the other is a senior. I got the senior up against the lockers (I'm a big woman) and lambasted him. He was red in the face and ready to kill the freshman. I told him he was stupid to risk expulsion when graduation is only 6 weeks away. He said he didn't care because he's joining the Marines.

ARGH!!!!

How do you deal with this mentality????

Wow!  That is incredible that this senior would willingly throw away graduating simply because he is going into the Marines.  This is really sad.  Had he been kicked out, he would regret it years down the road, most likely, instead of regretting it soon after.  What bothers me about this mentality is that when I did something wrong while growing up (something I purposely did in spite of knowing the consequences), I would be consumed by guilt!  It seems that many younger people today don't have that fear of consequences or retribution, etc. 

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I have to laugh at all the comments on apathy.  I waged a War on Apathy just two months ago in my senior English classes - complete with banner and all.  It helped some, and I did receive some positive feedback from the students.... on The Great Gatsby of all books!

I think though that we can't talk about apathy without commenting on enabling.  Students have been so enabled - so catered today - in the past 10/20 years that they have no reason to care.  Someone will get them through, someone always has... why should they put effort and interest into the classroom?  Until society begins demanding that students are responsible for their success - and not that teachers are the only culpable ones - it will continue.

I would love to hear more about your War on Apathy.  What did you do (besides the banner and posters)?  How did it engage the students?  I'm ready to engage in battle myself!

  Mostly I had to scare them!  I assigned detailed reading worksheets with specific questions that couldn't be found on any of the cheat sites and made them each worksheet worth a test grade... that raised the reading completion rate to at least 75%.  By getting that rate up, I was able to better facilitate discussions, which engaged students.  We also had some lively debates about the topics in the book - is happiness worth giving up riches?  should open marriages be allowed?  etc..  Finally, I translated some of the scenes into a script and had students act them out.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

One more frustration:

What's with seniors who decide to drop out in their last semester?

Yesterday I got between two boys who were exchanging words in the hallway. One was a freshman bully (this is his second confrontation in less than a week), and the other is a senior. I got the senior up against the lockers (I'm a big woman) and lambasted him. He was red in the face and ready to kill the freshman. I told him he was stupid to risk expulsion when graduation is only 6 weeks away. He said he didn't care because he's joining the Marines.

ARGH!!!!

How do you deal with this mentality????

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

One of the other English teachers at my school has decided to call it quits at the end of this year. She's old enough to have retired 10 years ago, but she loves teaching and is in great shape. She's been teaching freshmen for 20 years, and she's just had enough. The students won't listen. They whine and complain about not being able to understand what they're reading, and they constantly interrupt with irrelevant comments. She just doesn't want the aggravation any more.

During my planning period one day I stood outside her door and just listened. One of the students had complained that he couldn't understand the story because the words were too hard. (I didn't hear what they were studying.) She asked him how he could figure out what a word means by the context. I think I could hear crickets while she waited for an answer. So she gave an example vocabulary word and again asked how to find the meaning in the context. He told her he didn't know. She was holding some papers, and she just swatted his knee with them and said, "Oh you do too." Can you believe that he told her to stop throwing punches at him!?!

They simply don't want to think. It's easier to get the teacher so frustrated that she gives up, makes an easy assignment out of desperation, and copy off the one or two students who actually do it.

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I have to laugh at all the comments on apathy.  I waged a War on Apathy just two months ago in my senior English classes - complete with banner and all.  It helped some, and I did receive some positive feedback from the students.... on The Great Gatsby of all books!

I think though that we can't talk about apathy without commenting on enabling.  Students have been so enabled - so catered today - in the past 10/20 years that they have no reason to care.  Someone will get them through, someone always has... why should they put effort and interest into the classroom?  Until society begins demanding that students are responsible for their success - and not that teachers are the only culpable ones - it will continue.

You are SO right in that students have been enabled beyond belief.  They've gotten used to being spoonfed and catered to and they simply don't want to do their own work.  They want someone to do it for them.  This has been a huge topic of discussion in my division as of late.

amethystrose's profile pic

Susan Woodward | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

I have to laugh at all the comments on apathy.  I waged a War on Apathy just two months ago in my senior English classes - complete with banner and all.  It helped some, and I did receive some positive feedback from the students.... on The Great Gatsby of all books!

I think though that we can't talk about apathy without commenting on enabling.  Students have been so enabled - so catered today - in the past 10/20 years that they have no reason to care.  Someone will get them through, someone always has... why should they put effort and interest into the classroom?  Until society begins demanding that students are responsible for their success - and not that teachers are the only culpable ones - it will continue.

I would love to hear more about your War on Apathy.  What did you do (besides the banner and posters)?  How did it engage the students?  I'm ready to engage in battle myself!

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I have to laugh at all the comments on apathy.  I waged a War on Apathy just two months ago in my senior English classes - complete with banner and all.  It helped some, and I did receive some positive feedback from the students.... on The Great Gatsby of all books!

I think though that we can't talk about apathy without commenting on enabling.  Students have been so enabled - so catered today - in the past 10/20 years that they have no reason to care.  Someone will get them through, someone always has... why should they put effort and interest into the classroom?  Until society begins demanding that students are responsible for their success - and not that teachers are the only culpable ones - it will continue.

allyson's profile pic

allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Just like everyone else, I have been trying to overcome student apathy as well. I tried to create a more engaging research assignment last year, hoping that more kids would get excited about it. Instead of literary topics, they were asked to research a career that they may be interested in after high school. They had to approach it from all sides: tasks, educational requirements, skills needed, best and worst aspects in their opinion. They thought it was great, until they realized it was still work! They needed book and internet sources, and they had to interview someone in the field. Also proper citation and bibliography were required. Although I think it was more engaging to many, for some it was as if I was asking them to defy gravity.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I don't know if I'm glad or if I'm depressed to find out that you all are having the same problems and getting the same tired excuses that I get. I think the truth is that the students just don't want to do anything--period. Maybe we need a totally new form of education: implant chips in each newborn's brain that will give them internet access to all the knowlegdge in the world. Don't you know there'd be some kids who would think that's too hard?!

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