Based on what I've been feeling, hearing, and reading, it really seems like a lot of teachers are reaching the dreaded "burnout."
Mine comes directly on the tails of reading 50 rough drafts--about 25 of which completely ignored the essay assignment. And, my first reaction is to blame myself... I apparently didn't explain it well enough. But, then I got to thinking...
1) I gave them a detailed explanation of the essay assignment, what was required of the rough draft, and the scoring guide.
2) I explained it verbally in class.
3) I gave an EXAMPLE essay that outlined the organization, thesis statement, and I mean... it's an EXAMPLE.
4) I made each student get their thesis statement approved by me--and explained to many of them that this was NOT a persuasive essay and their thesis should not show any bias.
5) I reminded them over and OVER again they need to read the requirements of the assignment before they turn it in.
So... what more could I have done?
And the total pointlessness of that question leaves me dreading the next week. In talking with other teachers, we're all seeing the same thing--a complete lack of work ethic, self responsibility, or respect. And right now, I don't know how to combat those things. And, I can't help but feel they're societal and our world is going to hell.
I know, I know, I just need to learn to adapt to a new species of learners, but it's hard when they refuse to learn.
I had a parent email me telling me what I need to do with her child. And, my first response is to explain what HER CHILD needs to do (you know, turn in work that's completed). But instead, I get to bite my tongue and nod my head. Sure, I'll do that. Let's not have HIM do anything.
What more can I do? I know I'm not the best teacher in the world. I know I probably suck. But, I try. I seek help from colleagues, research, psychology, but in the end I just don't know how to get through to a group of students who refuse to read, listen, or care--and I feel bad for that group that DOES care and is getting a 100% and probably not learning as much as they could because I'm constantly repeating directions, explaining disappointments, and just banging my head against a brick wall.
In the end, I need a break to reevaluate the course we're on, to figure out how on earth I'm going to reach these kids, and prioritize: what do they really need to know to move on to the next level?