Thursday, November 6, 2008

Negative reinforcement or just the truth?

Sometimes kids make you want to choke them.

The Youngest Boy failed the Alabama State Exit Exam in math.

The exit exams are something that Alabama has decided we needed because from some reason kids are graduating from High School who can't read, do math, go figure.

Administrator: "We have a problem, Youngest Boy didn't pass the Math portion on the exit exam."
Me: "What?" (cause as you can imagine...they are not that difficult)
Admin: "Yeah, it wasn't even close."
Me: "I had no idea, what are we going to do?"
Admin: "We will provide tutoring 3 days per week after school."
Me: "Okay, let's do it."

Conversation with Youngest Boy after school.

Me: "You didn't pass the exit exam in math, you are going to be tutored 3 days a week."
Boy: "WHAT??? I DIDN'T Even TRY! Why do I have to be tutored?"
Me: "Because you didn't pass the exit exam."
Boy: "I didn't even TRY!"
Me: "Why wouldn't you try?"
Boy: "Because I have like 2 years to take it."
BOY: "But I know all the stuff on it!"
Me: "Apparently YOU DON'T. What did you do then when you took the test?"
Boy: "I just filled in the circles. Why do I have to be tutored?"
Me: "Because this is called, "There are always consequences for your actions."
BOY: "But I didn't know it MATTERED!"
Me: "Now you do!"

Help me out here.

You get to stay home when the other kids have to go to school and finish re-taking exit exams...why in the HELL would someone deliberately FAIL?

I went to a long time friend who happens to also be named Lisa. She is a substitute teacher, the only thing worse than a substitute teacher is a substitute bus driver.

Me: "Why in the world would he do that?"
Lisa: "Well, at least he fills in the bubbles, kids at our school just put their heads down on the desk and sleep."
Me: "Don't their parents ever ask what the HELL is going on?"
Lisa: "No."
Me: "So they spend 13 years in school so they can get an attendance diploma because they wanted to sleep through the test."
Lisa: "Pretty much."

Conversation with Youngest Boy (who is about to get his ass beat)
Me: "SO, you just filled in the bubbles. Then what did you do? Lay your head down on your desk?"
BOY: "Pretty much." (now I am taking pleasure in the fact he has to be tutored 3 day s a bout making it 5??)

Me: "So what do you do when your boy reveals this to you?"
Lisa: "Well, I made Josh write 200 times, "Will that be paper or plastic?" and it worked, when he starts slacking I start making him repeat the phrase, "Do you want fries with that...Do you want fries with that?" Works every time."

Where is the paper?

my sig


Corina said...

As a former teacher, I can tell you it does happen alot, when kids don't think it matters.... and when there are no consequences..... which more often than not, there are none.

Good for you and the administrator. The tutoring and the writing..... consequences..... he will turn around....

Tenakim said...

OMG- how timely that I read this! My 13 yr old just received his standardized test scores today and, much the same way, scored miserably low, didn't think they would count for anything and now hinders on being placed in learning disabled or remedial classes in high school (mind you he is and A-B student)- I am so taking this "punishment" and borrowing it.

Swampgirl said...

Even though they have a Mom who has been a teacher 25 years -all five of mine have used this method of test taking ! Each one suffered different consequences (depends on what was most important with each child) tutoring, loss of driving, farmwork, on line tutorial (for Pre-Cal) I swear that Son#3 made dot to dot pictures on Standardized tests until one of his teachers made a believer out of him -she also prayed over him daily. Later another team of teachers had a intervention meeting when he started sliding again! Luckily we have always had teachers who went beyond the call of duty to keep my kids on track!