Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Apathy

I have been guilty of this from time to time. I find now, however, as I grow more in my spiritual journey, I feel this way less and less. Even moments of apathy have never been so bad where I don't care about anything.
One of the frustrating things about teaching is dealing with student apathy. It's not just not caring about school. I can understand that. But it is those students that don't care about anything. They have no interests. They don't care about graduating. They only come to school so they don't go to jail or have to pay fines. (Our district files on them for truancy)
I cannot say I always make my class interesting to everyone. But I do try to come up with some projects that give students some freedom in choosing things that interest them. For example, the project they are now working on is writing a letter of request to any person they choose. It can be a celebrity, someone in government or anyone outside of their "box" so to speak. When I've assigned this project in the past, students have gotten autographed pictures from people like Cindy Crawford, Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage, and other letters from George Bush Sr. and G.W. Bush (when he was governor). I think it's a fun project that teaches them how to write a proper letter.
Today they had to brainstorm five people that they would be interested in writing to and many couldn't think of a single person. Can you imagine being so self-involved that you care about nothing? That is the tough part about teaching. It's not so much discipline and the work... it's dealing with attitudes like that.
But what I learn to do is simply pick my battles. I can't make everyone do everything. I let them know what the consequences of not doing the assignments are. (Failing and having to take the class again... as it is a requirement before they graduate.) Then I just move on to those who do care. Sure it's frustrating, but soemtimes you just have to reach those you can and keep your hand extended for those that perhaps will one day learn to care.

2 comments:

Summer said...

There might be a problem with these kids. I'm speaking from experience. When I was growing up, my parent's didn't encourage me to be creative or have my own interests. As a matter of fact, my interests were criticized and laughed at. It had such a profound effect that when someone would ask me what I liked or what I was interested in I would always say that I didn't know. I was always fearful or too embarrased to say.

momacakes said...

Summer has a point. I am still like that in a way. Not because of my family not being supportive but because others...in their case peers, might make fun of my intrests. At least I hope that is the case and these kids arn't truely apathetic. That would be way too sad. I am growing out of it...maybe they will too.