Saturday, September 8, 2012

Senior English--A Note from Mr. Martin: Answers to "Day 1 Review -- You betcha vs. Nah, not so much" and Additional Information

N -- If you are absent, you are to pick up the papers that you missed from the black basket located just inside the door in Rm. 100.  It is okay to come into the classroom if Mr. Groth is teaching or if I am teaching--just do so quietly!  Additionally, you are to access this blog in order to read through the agenda from the day(s) that you missed.  If you still have questions after completing these two steps, then come see me.  If you grab papers, look at the blog, and are still confused, but do not contact me prior to class (e-mail works, but I go to bed fairly early!), I will have little sympathy if you come to class unprepared and tell me that you "didn't understand."

N -- Because I have 120+ students, it is next to impossible for me to remind students to make up work missed when absent.  Additionally, I refuse to remind students as a general practice, as one of my goals is helping my students learn the value of personal responsibility.

Y -- I expect students to come in for homeroom detention for two reasons: 1.) Homeroom detention serves as a deterrent, as most students value this time of the school day; 2.) If you frequently come to class unprepared, a "red flag" emerges.  I can then talk to you about the circumstances hindering your success in an effort to get us back on the same page.

N -- I consider the classroom a professional workplace.  As such, swearing is unacceptable, much like in the "real world," and a referral will be submitted.  I will, however, warn you once.  Once you've been warned, you will not be warned again throughout the remainder of the school year.

N -- I'll be honest--it bothers me when students sleep in class.  I think of it this way: I only have each of my sections for 90 blocks at 82 minutes each (sometimes less!), and each of those minutes is precious.  If something makes me uncomfortable in my own workplace, I will not simply ignore the circumstance.  With that said, I do indeed refer students who appear to be or definitely are sleeping in class.  As with swearing, I will warn you once.  Once you've been warned, you will not be warned again throughout the remainder of the school year.

Y -- Lateness is rarely tolerated in the "real world."  For example, I know of an individual who lost his (or her?--I'm trying to be vague here!) job due to a pattern of lateness, even though it was only a few minutes here and there.  Time is important in school, the workplace, etc.--if time wasn't important, then we wouldn't have specific schedules, would we?!  As per the "Livonia High School Code of Conduct," I will mark students absent each time they arrive to class late.  Sometimes, though, simply following this policy is not enough to emphasize the importance of timeliness, hence the additional policy.

Y --  As noted earlier, I value every minute that we have together.  Therefore, I consider every minute of English class English time.

Y -- I consider myself a fairly understanding individual and do try to work with students in extenuating circumstances.  However, I can only do so when you're proactive--otherwise, I follow the black and white guidelines clearly stated in the "Non-Negotiable Expectations and Procedures" packet.

Y -- These forms are located in a manila folder on the computer desk in Rm. 100.  When you submit one of these forms to me, I will put you on my calendar.

N -- Again, this policy relates to "real world" accountability.  I'm sad to report that I once missed an appointment with the dentist.  I still had to pay for the appointment as if I had attended, and when I called to reschedule, I couldn't get another appointment until almost two months later.

N -- I prefer that you complete quizzes in blue or black ink.  Yet, I have had many students in the past who like using pencil because they can erase in order to craft their best work.  Through the years, then, I have come to understand that for some quizzes and some students, pencil is preferred.  At times, though, using pencil is at odds with my preference (e.g., if you're taking a quick assessment that is graded in class, where the possibility of changing a response exists), so make sure that if you prefer pencil or only have pencil on a quiz day, you ask me if using pencil is okay--I'll usually say, "Yes!"

N -- It is worth noting that I reserve the right to keep you for a few extra moments at the end of class if I am in the middle of giving directions.  Keeping students past the bell is a rare occurrence, though.

Y -- Due to the homeroom policy related to late writing assignments, a lateness of 6 days is highly unlikely.  However, sometimes, this much time passes, and when it does, it's because the student has no intention of ever turning the assignment in (let's be honest!).  Instead of waiting ten days when credit would technically run out, I "quit playing the game" after 6 days.  Once you learn more about the writing portfolio, I think you'll find that turning writing assignments in late is not in your best interest if you plan on being successful (and, quite frankly, passing!) the course.

N -- Writing assignments (due to the time devoted) and quizzes (due to the frequency of administrations) are both worth 30%.


Y -- I coach basketball, and in that capacity, I share with my athletes my philosophy regarding winning and losing.  The philosophy is as follows: Our goal is to put in maximum effort daily, building our skills and learning our game plan (and, perhaps most importantly, having fun).  If we do this (and we have the talent), winning will come as a by-product.  I'm not like a lot of other coaches in that I do not tell my students that we're only in it to win--I've played under these types of coaches, and I've found that in many instances, the fear of losing blocks the ability to execute.  I have come to think of the classroom experience in the same manner.  If all a student cares about is a grade, then he or she will often do anything to "get a good grade".  Yet, if you get a good grade but leave Livonia lacking the skills necessary for achieving and thriving in the "real world," then what have you really accomplished, and how successful will you be in your future endeavors?  These questions are worth your careful consideration.  If you are here for the right reasons (and I hope that you are!), plagiarizing and/or cheating are both pointless and, in fact, counterproductive.



Y -- Livonia teachers have all been trained in the implementation of Tribes, and, as you probably know, Tribes presents "four agreements" that help classroom environments find success.  We will spend some class time discussing these agreements and developing consequences together in the near future.



Y -- In another blog post, I have listed my office hours.  Seek me out!

Y -- Remember:  It's your life, your future, and thus up to YOU.