Thursday, August 21, 2008

Getting close... can you taste it?

Yesterdays session on 'bullying' turned out to be decent information.
No.... they didn't teach us to be better bullies, and that was a bit disappointing.
On the other hand the presenter did provide an excellent frame work for the legal ramifications and what acceptable responses are within the system. It turns out that our school policy, as explained by the instructors during questioning, is far above and beyond standard protocols. Even better, our documentation system is a winner, and well used. Due to these factors the session was finished an hour early. She had nothing left to tell us! Whoo Hooo!

Our lab and theory rooms are almost ready. I'll spend most of the day there today, with my partner off and on, and it should be complete by tonight some time.

Yesterday we stuffed binders, my partner and I. On the students first day we give them a binder for the year (out of our own generous nature). In it they find their first eight chapters of homework (thirty questions each chapter), two essay assignments, a questionnaire, a mapping assignment for the lab, a reading assignment with quiz questions, and the program rules and regs.

All that is due to be handed in a week after they get it, for grade. Their grade is halved if it's late.

The rest of the year, we have theory two hours a day, and they need to take notes.
These are kept in the binder, along with all the task assignments and data sheets we give them. We collect them back each semester and grade them, counted as a high value test. We grade on legibility, organizations, neatness, and other things no one has ever graded them on before.

Day one will have two hours of us talking at them. Welcome to your new home, here are OUR rules, what they can expect to learn, what we expect of them, what opportunities they have, display the bodies of the weak and fallen, how to get out of our program should they decide to, etc. We'll also do a walking tour of the building and grounds, rain or shine, and then we'll be nice and let them work quietly on the assignments in their binder.

On day two, we begin theory lessons. Starting with the school handbook and rules, we review in detail. This takes two to three hours, and then we test them on it. They must score 100% or they get to do it again, and again, and again. We'll also introduce them to Mr. Broom and Mrs. Mop. They will learn to clean our lab, a daily occurrence for the rest of the year. We grade on it to. This part usually does not go well the first time. We have to help them understand WHY the place has to be clean, and why it's important to them. Most of them have had someone else cleaning up after them their whole lives. That ends Monday for them.... SURPRISE!

A lot of minds get molded the first two days in our program.... and a few will decide we were not their best choice.

We are scheduled (as best we can cobble together) with 55 students this year. They will be with us all year, the entire day. High school seniors with a few adults in the mix. The first week with us, many of them will have their image of the year shattered and reformed. About half of them came without actually touring our technical program and speaking to us first. That half probably don't know what they are getting into, and even the ones who toured don't really believe what they heard from us yet. The first few days are NOT designed to ease them into it. It's designed to dump them in head first, with lions, tigers, and bears waiting for them when they surface. We want those who are looking for an easy ride to bail out the first few days.... and we''l push them HARD.

The thing is..... My partner and I are semi-articulate bridge trolls that first week, dropping a work load on them heavier than anything they have ever faced before.
With all that, It would be unusual for more than one or two to quit.

We must be doing something wrong.

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