Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

The Go-Slow-Need-My-MoJo Mode

Today the seniors begin taking their finals. I have earned the sympathy of staff members who do not teach seniors. Senioritis hit shortly after Spring Break and only graduation can cure its outbreak. There has been epidemic of no shows, skippers, and non-coms floating in my classes.

I have come to the conclusion that teaching seniors is not for sissies. There are only two of us in the English department who willingly sign up to take them on. Why the hesitancy, the reluctance, the fear? Well, this group of students is under the misguided assumption that just because they are eighteen they are adults and are entitled to set their own course. The half-baked logic of  “I’m signing out now because I’m eighteen and can do so” crops up halfway through class with some individuals. This reminds me of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where Calvin raises his hand and asks to be dismissed because his brain is full. Apparently, students are developing smaller brains because they seem to fill up quickly these days. It can’t be that they want to avoid British literature…no, that can’t be. Yet, these same proclaimed adults who have figured out they are able to write their own excuses, haven’t figured out that self-excused absences or any absence not sanctioned by school or a doctor’s note, add up and jeopardize graduation. It has now caught up, and many students are stunned that they haven’t gotten away with it after all.

The reckoning forces are visiting classrooms in force these past couple of weeks. When the office aides come in bearing admin passes I gleefully announce, “More Wonka tickets!” Yes, these yellow slips of beckoning, these invitations, these golden tickets are summons for the select few.  Alas, no chocolate awaits. These little lovelies announce the privilege of coming in after school either Wednesday or on Saturday to make up seat time. I wonder how these same studrnts who do not comprehend the  “play now, pay later” reality will deal with the cause and effect of credit card usage and credit card bills. 

Now with a handful of days remaining, I contemplate the need for time to slow down because I still have so much I want to teach them; however, I’m losing my Mojo because teaching seniors is tough. It’s as tough as herding cats, but I do it, because I’m no sissified English teacher. I’m tough, and I’m thankful for the opportunity of pouring some Dickinson, Keats, Yeats, and Thomas into their brains. It’s what I do. Yup, not everyone can do we do (EDS=English Department Staff). And when those students cross that platform and grab their diplomas, it’s all worth it.

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10 thoughts on “The Go-Slow-Need-My-MoJo Mode

  1. Having a son who’s a senior and turned 18 last month, I feel for you. Luckily he’s a good kid, and skipping or giving his teachers attitude wasn’t an option. Several times I said to him, “Just because you’re 18 now and school is almost done, doesn’t mean you can slack off now.” I’m sure he loved my quips of advice. 😉 But he graduated last weekend so all is good.

    Good luck with the rest of your year!

  2. Mojo is an endangered species in May. So take it easy; cats can be herded much for effective in September.

  3. Cassandra Cridland on said:

    LOL – Love the post, but the video is an absolute knockout. I so remember those days. My boys were the worst. Keep up the great work.

  4. I loved teaching dance to high school students, but so many other teachers thought I was crazy. I understood their emotional ups and downs, and most of all, I treated them like young adults.

    Now those dance teachers who taught the 3-year-olds? They were saints!

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