"Don't beat yourself up."That's what I'm secretly telling myself right now.
Today, all NYC algebra students take the Regents Examination at 1:15 PM. They have opportunities to take this exam in January, June and August. The exam is thirty-nine questions long and covers approximately a year and a half's worth of material. It's actually not that difficult - especially since you really only need to answer thirteen questions correctly to score a passing score of 65%. You don't need to be a math teacher to figure out that's one hell of a curve! And yes, that's what she said.
I sent about sixteen text messages this morning to students reminding them today is the day of their algebra regents and that they should be here, on time. That was also my facebook status yesterday. Our school also has this automated machine that calls students' houses to send reminders.
I feel like we're parents trying to tell our spoiled children to eat their vegetables. But usually in those cases, the children are not 17 or older. Ours are. Most of the effort here is pretty one-sided. And on days like this, I'm usually tempted to say:
"Fuck it, they should know how important this is for them. If they don't come, sucks for them. We can't fight their battles for them."Honestly, I usually catch myself saying that a lot in my head. Especially today. At the same time, I don't know: the problem is our students really don't know how important this is for them. The idea that an education is the one thing that can't be taken away from you and can only give you a better life wasn't exactly instilled everyday in their heads. Generalization? Maybe. But I'd like to be proven wrong. The longer I work as a teacher, the more hostility I feel towards parents who have no idea what the fuck they're doing.
If I ever stood up in front of a classroom in Pakistan and told students there that in America I used to call my students' homes to remind them of an exam, they'd probably say:
"How could someone forget when their examinations are? Haha! Good joke. But seriously, can we start the lesson?"And they'd secretly be thinking, if this teacher sucks, I'm going to need to find a private tutor.