In my classroom, I’m a very easy going guy. 90% of the time, I can ignore behaviors like a parent. Coughing to get my attention? I’ll offer you a mint. You just let one rip? I’ll offer a moist towelette. Tell me you can’t work because you have no supplies? Paper and pencil magically appear. My wife and kids will both tell you, it takes a lot to get me angry.


Not today.

If you know the phrasing, we are in the “find out” stage of pushing me and my limits. It started with 1st hour. As I’ve been a teacher for almost three decades, I’ve noticed that students are being more and more helpless. Sorry, needy. Sorry, lacking the drive and direction to read the freaking directions to find out what they need to do. Well, my first-hour class did that with a relatively easy assignment. I let most of the “I don’t get it” slide because, in my mind, maybe I didn’t explain things right or I was unclear so I need to try a different way. When I got the same responses after the second time of giving directions, I asked them, “Did you read the directions?”.


That gave me much insight. So, I have a class of students who are asking for directions without actually trying ANYTHING. So, I went through things a third time, this time, reading the directions word for word from the page they were doing. I don’t like it when a speaker gets up and reads a Powerpoint like that, so I try to avoid it when at all possible. Today, it was a loud and slow reading.


Just the facts indeed. Well, we muddled our way through the first hour then the second hour showed up, with the same basic assignment, and the same basic response. “I don’t get it,” and my response back, “Did you read the directions?”


Social studies showed up with questions about the reading. Hey, what do you know, this encounter took place: Student: I don’t get it. Me: Did you look back into the reading? Student: Well, no.


So I stop the class, again, and we go over the basics of finding information for the 733rd time together, and then, the students return to work. As I said, we are in the “find out” stage, because we are three-quarters into the school year. This kind of behavior should not be happening. We’ve talked about it, we’ve demonstrated, we showed good examples and not-so-good one, and other than my head spinning like a top, I’m at a loss for what to do.


Next week is the final quarter of the year. Students will be pushed to do better, think about the answers to the questions, and when they can, find those answers in the text, in the directions, or find in the previous learning. So many are fully capable of doing so, but simply make that choice not to do so.

They’ll find out. Either through the work they put in or by redoing the work.

Either way, they’ll find out!