Thursday, February 26, 2009

Teenagers exhaust me.

Teenagers exhaust me.

They really do.

I am with them all day, every day.

Lucky me.

I assigned them six pages to read last night. Six. They didn’t do it. Most of them cheated their way through the reading quiz by asking friends from other periods what would be on it.

This bugs me.

Teenagers care waaaayy more about their girlfriends and their video games then they do about completing their reading assignment for English—no matter how short, interesting, and do-able that assignment may be.

So then I ask myself, Why would they care about The Catcher in the Rye?

Well, cause it’s a darn good book, and they’d probably actually like it if they gave it a try. Holden is hilarious—and just as pessimistic, sarcastic, and lazy as many of them.

So then I think, How can I get them to try the book?

Well, I could come up with engaging lessons, class activities, and group discussion. I could read them some of the really funny parts to get them interested.

I’ve tried all that.

Didn’t work.

During my first year of teaching, my mentor teacher told me that she once realized that she could’ve swung from the chandelier naked—and two minutes later, the students would’ve been bored again.

Probably true.

So, fine…they’re bored…and they’re not going to do their reading. I can accept that. But what I can’t accept is that they then act entitled to a good grade. Entitled.

Look, peeps, if you don’t do the work, you don’t get the grade.

Why does this seem to be a new concept to them?

Whining, whining, whining. Cheating, cheating, cheating. Sometimes, it’s exhausting.


  1. amazingly enough, i sometimes felt the same way as a ta at byu.
    also, glad you had a great trip to utah. that looks like a lot of fun!

  2. Ha! I gave a test today and came home thinking the exact same thing. Sometimes it sucks, doesn't it?

  3. It sounds like you may have some good stories! Can't wait to get together again soon.

  4. As a former high school slacker I encourage you to keep trying. I know as a teacher it's frustrating beyond all reason, but there ARE a few kids in each class that are really getting into it, even if they don't show it. As for the reading quiz, if it's not a major test that takes tons of work to prepare....change the questions each hour. (At least some of them.) Cheating problem solved. Not the laziness problem, though. You're out of luck there.

  5. I think there's a good action movie (maybe with Julia Roberts in it) where 'Catcher In the Rye' is mentioned several times. It's kind of woven into the plot. Maybe you could use that info. somehow?? Who knows?! Entitlement is an epidemic in today's society! Good luck! You've gotta be racking up some sort of blessings in Heaven for teaching high school! LOL!

  6. I feel the same way this week!!! and I'm mad because I can't fail them without going through this mess in my school and getting in trouble myself for failing them all.

    I recently heard something that made me laugh.. In the war in heaven when Satan presented his plan, he made it clear that every one of us would succeed, by whatever means necessary. Sound familiar. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND IS SATAN'S PLAN. That's all.

  7. It makes me glad that I work at an elementary school and not a secondary school. The little ones still want to please their teacher to a certain extent. They don't have the "teenager" syndrome yet and haven't lost all motivation.

  8. This breaks my heart. I know how hard you work and how deeply you care and KNOW that opening their minds to ideas would make such a difference in their lives. It is hard for me to appreciate the depth of their just not caring to go even an 1/8 of an inch deep within. I'm sorry Rach, because I know there are students out there who would LOVE to have a teacher like you...and who don't. :-(

  9. hey... amber j from writing fellows. i came across your blog via jsparen's, and i HAD to comment on this one.

    we have the same life. i go through the exact same thing day in & day out -- catcher in the rye, millions of others of my favorite books. ugh, it can be frustrating.

    we should talk. where are you teaching? i'll keep checking in :)


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