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How to acclimate a new student mid-semester/mid-unit

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by llama2179, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. llama2179

    llama2179 New commenter


    This is my first time posting on here. A little background: I have been teaching for 15 years in various alternative high school programs throughout New York. I work with some of the most disenfranchised and at-risk students, aged 14-19. I am constantly struggling with finding literature that is of high-interest yet not too complex and definitely not the "traditional" and "classic" texts that schools often default to. Most of my students have failed out of the standard English classroom environment for various reasons and need a very different approach to learning, to read about real-world characters and situations, to be relevant, etc. With all of that said, I am constantly getting new students weeks and months into the school year. I walk into the classroom and there is a new random student, often with no warning.

    Other than always having extra materials (however, paper is often limited and scarce and it's not always possible to make extra copies), how can I get these students on track? For example, I had two students admitted within days of each other while we were finishing Act II of Hamlet, or students entering during section 6 of Night. I find it frustrating because these kids will not "on their own" go home and read to catch up, and when I teach this population I am carefully walking and guiding them through each analysis and such. These new admits often become disruptive because they have no clue what is happening, won't take the initiative to catch up themselves, and already feel defeated upon entry. I am thinking about not even bothering with longer works of literature at this point and just stick to short stories, articles, poems, etc., however, that is an incredible amount of excess planning, for one thing. Yes, when a new student is admitted I do indeed stop and make that class a review class for what was covered before and I try to assess what the prior knowledge of the student but still, it is never enough. In general, behavioral/emotional issues are common with most of my students as well as most students are classified as special education 504/IEP (however, MANY are NOT classified but should be).

    So what are some tips that some of you can offer? What do you do for new students the you are mid-unit/novel, etc?

    Thank you for reading and any responses.
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    As it sounds as if you are talking more specifically about teaching English, it might be worth trying the English subject forum - I don't know how active it is, but probably more English teachers than here. The whole catch-up thing must be quite different for different subjects, I think.

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