Saturday, November 5, 2011

Make-Up Work

I'm twenty-six years old and in my third year of teaching. I can hardly say I know anything about the profession or make broad generalizations about my student population. It's very tempting to try one-size fits all strategies and assume they will work for everyone all of the time.

Lately, my teacher colleagues and I has been trying to figure out why our students as a whole do shit throughout the semester, and then expect a "make-up packet" at the end of the semester that will save them from failing the course. Every semester, shit tons of students (most of whom I haven't seen all semester in school) decide to show up to class and ask if there's anything they can do.
"Seriously? Like, what do you mean, if there's anything you can do?" I ask.
"You know, like, make-up the work yo." 
Exhibit A: My response.
FYI-I do eventually stop laughing.
Since the beginning, I've instituted a no make-up work policy. Well, technically I do let students make up the work they've missed within a week. Once the week is over, it's too late.  I think this helps them stave off the temptation to start cutting my class. Obviously, I make exceptions for extreme cases (e.g. "My mom kicked me out and I've been living in a shelter for the past two weeks."). My policy has been working great for me, and I actually get a kick out of denying make-up work.
I know what you're thinking, and you know what? Screw you, don't judge me. Nothing wrong with having fun in the workplace.
Yesterday, a teacher in my school tasked the students in his Advisory class to e-mail the teachers of classes they are failing or potentially failing. They were to ask for any work they could make-up. Gina, a student in my 5th period Algebra class decided to e-mail me:
from: Gina Thomas (
to: Yo Mista! (
date: Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 11:35 AM
subject: (no subject)
Hey, i know i havent shown to much interest in ur class and stuff but i will like for you to send me a syllabus with all the missing work that i can actually make up and get some credit trying to get my things together.
My response, two hours later during 5th period:
from: Yo Mista! (
to: Gina Thomas (
date: Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 1:11 PM
subject: re: (no subject)

How are you going to send me this e-mail during 3rd period and then not show up for 5th period today?!
That's right: she actually didn't even show up to my class. This is why I'll take a laugh I can on the job.


Anonymous said...

Yo Mista, I like your style!


Yo Mista said...

Hey, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well said, my dear colleague. I am following your lead. Enough already. Our students are smart and full of potential. It is high time we treat them as the emerging adults that they are.

Yo Mista said...

@ Anonymous 2:
LOL, "emerging adults." Love your sense of humor ;)