As the school year is now just about over, I reflect on the unusually large academic and social gap between the current juniors and this year’s freshmen. Two years ago, with the students who are now in 11th grade, I was able to cover all of the literature I planned, as well as quite a bit of secondary material in history, politics and economics. I remember that we often got off track, and I had to make the conversation go back toward the literature that was originally intended.
What prompted this podcast was my discussion with one of my former students who just finished her freshman year in college. I was reminded that, with less time, we did more material with more in depth analysis.
The causes? Ridiculous and meaningless high stakes testing (euphemistically called ‘assessments’) is one of the causes. A major cause is the current students have much less desire to learn. They are more used to being spoon-fed every thing. I had more discipline issues than ever before these last two years. If things continue to devolve, I’ll request 10th grade for the 2015 – 2016 school year. I’m sad to make that statement because I have chosen to work with 9th graders for the past 8 years because they are younger, fresher and more eager. Unfortunately, this seems to be changing.