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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Many absent students

I thought in this posting that I would include a report on attendance to my classes.

One of the problems I have with teaching students in my school is the fact that so many of them miss class. I cannot teach students who are not there. For example, today...

Time Block 1: Junior English, 18 students enrolled in the class, 8 absent. We also had a late bus so 3 students were tardy.

Time Block 2: Planning Period

Time Block 3: Senior English, 25 enrolled, 6 absent, 4 tardy

Time Block 4: Junior English, 21 enrolled, 6 absent, 2 tardy

Time Block 5: Department meeting

Time Block 6: Senior English, 27 enrolled, 6 absent, 3 tardy (seems to be a pattern working here)

Time Block 7: Junior English, 26 enrolled, 9 absent, 3 unexcused tardy, 2 excused tardy (the teacher who kept the students late thoughtfully walked them to my class)

So, out of 117 students enrolled in my classes, 35, or about 1/3 of my students missed today's instruction. 

We finished watching the play Our Town in the junior classes and got near to the end of the movie Frankenstein in the senior classes.  The juniors will be looking a a selection from Spoon River Anthology a collection of poems by Edgar Lee Masters that inspired the final act in Our Town.  In the senior classes, we will be looking at the Mary Shelley's novel and other movie interpretations of Frankenstein.

It seems that many of my students seem to think that school is over once the state tests are completed. Have we created a Frankenstein with our high stakes testing?

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