Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Unmotivated Students

Today was a really hard day. We have a big test coming up - the last one of the trimester - so I set aside a big chunk of time for kids to review for the test. I gave them a couple of worksheets to use as a guide and then split them up into teams. At the end of the class we were going to have a team game for points and prizes. I thought this would motivate them to work hard and make sure they really knew the material (you know, prizes or the big test they have on Friday).

Did it work? Not at all. As soon as kids finished the worksheet they immediately began wandering around the room, talking to friends, etc... I was constantly redirecting students, but it was like playing whack-a-mole. I told them today that this obviously wasn't working and we would do something much less fun tomorrow.

My frustration is that I can't will these kids into succeeding. I am doing everything I can think of to show them that they are smart and capable, and they are doing everything to show me that they could care less about school.

What I hate most of all is that when I have a day like today it totally affects my own sweet children at home. I feel worn out by the day and have no more patience. This puts my kids on edge and before you know it someone is crying.

I have been researching how to motivate unmotivated kids and all of the ideas sound good on paper, but implementing them in my classroom seems impossible. Maybe this is because I am not a good enough teacher, but I have 27 kids in my class and probably 20 of them are on a 504 plan for some version of ADD. If I am not literally standing over some of these kids they start making trouble.

They have gotten much better. If I give them an assignment that is doable for them they will sit and work on it, but the minute they feel they have some choice they always choose to disrupt others. This includes any assignments with the tiniest bit of freedom or choice.

Today was one of the few days I have really fantasized about quitting and never having to see my class again...

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