The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Pet Peeve....

.... as a teacher, is when students just totally do not listen.

So, I am giving my final exams today. I gave very explicit instructions at the beginning of the test, and wrote them on the board. The instructions were as follows...
- When you finish with the exam, come turn it in on this table up front (point to desk).
- Take one of these "end of the year survey" papers (hold up survey).
- Complete the survey. Then, bring the survey up front.
- Turn in the survey, then take on of these packets with your summer reading project (hold up packet).
- Then take any textbooks you have left and return them to the textbook room and check out the book for the summer reading project.
- You may then return to class and sit quietly at your desk and preview the book and the project. I will happily answer any questions about the project once everyone has finished the final exam.

After explaining these instructions, I said, "Now, what do you do when you finish your final?" The whole class, as they know to do, answers back, "Bring it up there and take the survey." So they got it. Then I said, "When you finish the survey, what do you do?" They answer back, "Bring it up there and get the summer reading."

Fantastic! They understand!

So, about half an hour goes by and a student raises her hand, "Mrs. Mohr, what are we supposed to do when we finish?"
I said it, too. I know I am a bit too sarcastic, but COME ON.... The class kind of giggled as I looked at her to see if she seriously didn't know, before finally answering her by repeating the instructions I had just gone over 30 minutes prior.

Then, as the students came up here, another student grabs the survey and says, "Can I go return my books now?" I again had to clarify, survey first, then books. I am now making signs for the tables to tell them what to do... yet again.

Is it too much to expect that students can listen to and follow simple multi-step instructions?

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