Grade Books and Younger vs. Older Teachers

Today was an exploration of the new grade book system we are using. I spent a couple hours identifying the basic functions, but the bulk of that time was used trying to figure out how to make it let me grade the way I want to enter scores.

I’ve decided that I am going to use GPA scoring on every assignment (4.0 for and A, 3.0 for a B, etc.) while still using my categories (i.e. tests, writings, final, etc.). This will make every assignment within each category weighted the same. Each unit test over the novels will have the same effect within its category as will each paper, each presentation, each speech, and so on. It won’t be a standards-based system, but I have not found the standards adopted to include all that they should. That’s my bias and the reason I do not have a full standards-based system. Regardless, I am going to have to manipulate the grade book percentages to allow for GPA scoring, and it took the better part of 90 minutes to determine how to make it work.

I also read a few articles on education issues today for about an hour. As any teacher knows, the measurements or assessments used have a drastic effect on student motivation and success just like the way schools are graded have a tremendous impact on funding and more, which is what this article notes on Alabama schools. Another interesting article noted that the Seattle School District wants to raise class sizes despite a Washington State Supreme Court ruling demanding smaller class sizes.

Today I received a call from a younger teacher, one who would be considered part of the online generation (an age group never really knowing a world without the internet). Truth be told, I straddle the line between the online and pre-online generations, but the teacher who called me is definitely an onliner.¬†She wanted to know if we had a specific resource, and my first thought was “have you looked?” I would guess the answer to be “no,” but I have no real evidence to suggest this to be true except past experience.

What I’ve noticed is that the younger teachers don’t always tend to look first before asking others to come to their aid; whereas, the elder teachers look first and try to figure things out on their own before including others. This may not necessarily be a negative, but I have observed that the younger generation, including my students, want a immediate answer rather than putting in an extra minute or two discovering the answer on their own. They seem to think it’s ok for them to inconvenience others to speed up their activities. Maybe that ‘s a bit harsh, but I see it frequently.

Truly, providing the answer required less than a minute of my time, but in the time it took the teacher to call and chat with me, she could have located the resource on her own without interrupting me. I wasn’t even really bothered by the call and was happy to help (and very happy this teacher was starting her planning three before school starts), but the call did generate the thought about how the generations differ.

I know, I know. I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, including my use of that antiquated term, but the Google Generation does seem to want everything right now and don’t always have the patience of their elder peers. Is this simply a product of age or the effect of the online age? I’m not sure, but the trend seems to be increasingly true and today was a prime example.

Oh, sheesh. Maybe I’m becoming a curmudgeon. :)

Update: Maybe I should post my feelings about how the older teachers often fret over technology while the younger teachers rush to embrace it. And, when will I go from embracing the technology to fretting about it?

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