Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fear and Loving?

No loathing. A little fearing and then loving the class.

My Honors kids looked frightened yesterday and I've heard that I'm intimidating at the start of a class, so I thought I'd shake them up.

Today I informed my new Honors students I'm know as the "GPA Buster" and they better get ready. Silence. A deafening silence followed.

I then gave them a quick quiz over the syllabus provided yesterday, a series of seven true/false questions. I read the questions, and they simply wrote their answers on their papers. I then instructed them that they would correct their own, "so no one should miss any of the answers." I paused. Smiles and giggles started quickly and soon spread throughout the room. Understanding!

After "correcting" the quiz I told them this was a lesson: they would have to be prepared every day when I ask them to do something. We then had a quick contest to see who could shoot their balled-up quiz into the recycling box from across the room.

Now I had them. No one was stressed any more.

I need them to know I am not out to destroy their grades. They have to ask questions, be inquisitive. They can't worry about points; they need to learn. If they don't do well on an assignment, they need to redo it. I'm there to help them.

My message to them, before starting a review of the French Revolution in preparation for Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, is: if you are stressed out about this class, you're doing it wrong. I think they believe me.

5 comments:

Mrs. Chili said...

Oh, MAN! I LOVE the idea of a pop quiz on the syllabus! I'm totally stealing that for the start of next term!

nuss said...

Um, yeah ... I think I might use that on Monday. That's awesome.

Mimi said...

I love it!! I wish I could pull that off with little ones but I think I might scar them for life...

The Science Goddess said...

Are these sophs? I love that age!

DrPezz said...

Yes, these are my Sophomores. :)