Motivational Appeals and Senioritis

Today was a bit of a trying day, which was sad because I was in an awesome mood.  Yesterday I received a call from my department chair to say that she had some classes available for Fall.  If you recall, the Fall schedule was booked before it made it to me.  So, I was completely overjoyed.  She had a total of 5 classes, but I only took 3 because they were all on different days with large gaps.  Two of the three are on tuesday and thursday evening (4:00-5:15, and 7:30-8:45) and the third one is on Friday (9-11:50 am). But that’s not all.  They are both on the main campus.

Needless to say, I was stoked–and the weather report called for a beautiful Spring day.  I had two students who didn’t give their demonstration speeches last week that were scheduled to present today (long story), and then we were going to finish up chapter 13 on persuasive speaking.  I had also intended to show them some more video’s using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.

And that’s where things started to unravel.  I got an e-mail from one of the students scheduled to speak that she was going to be absent due to illness and the other student told me at the beginning of class that she was not prepared to speak.  That was all o.k.–it just meant that I had more class time for today’s lecture.  But, my students wanted to be everywhere but class.  Seven of my twelve students are dual enrollment, meaning they are highschooler’s taking college classes.  Mine are all Seniors.  I have diagnosed them with a sever case of Senior-itis.  The problem is that I still have a lot of content to teach them!

Things just started going down hill from there.  Not only were they more interested in talking amongst themselves, they were participating in the class lecture, they were trying to waste valuable class time and get me off topic.  Now, I remember those days.  I did some of those same things.  But, I guess I just knew when enough was enough.

I played a video clip that was about a minute long, but the students were mostly talking through it and not paying attention.  Afterward, when I was asking them questions about it they were not able to answer.  Most of them hemmed and hawed saying that they couldn’t see it or couldn’t hear it.  Finally, they admitted that they weren’t paying attention.

Rather than fight them on the issue I dismissed class about 15 minutes early.  Part of me regrets the decision because I basically gave them what they wanted all along and rewarded their bad behavior, but then part of me understand that they were pushing all of my buttons and to contain my anger and dissatisfaction it was better that I dismissed them.  I guess only time will tell.

But, it doesn’t end there.  As soon as they were in the hallway I heard them erupt in laughter.  Since it was warm, the windows in the classroom were open so as they stood outside in the courtyard discussing the situation and laughing about how they made me upset the few students that were left in the classroom and I could hear them.  I walked over to the window and called down to them “I can hear you.”  One of the students gave me a panic stricken look and then it became deathly quiet.

What do you think: Would you have dismissed class early, knowing that it was what they wanted all along or would you have kept them until the end of class?

4 comments on “Motivational Appeals and Senioritis

  1. dapperdolly says:

    The way they behaved was very rude and demeaning. I agree that there will always be restlessness and low level annoyance but you’re right, they should stop and listen to you (or at least pretend to listen…), it shouldn’t get to the point where you feel enough is enough.

    I would have told them ‘if you want to make it harder then it already is, and shun the one trying to help you through it, then fine, go’ and opened the door for them. Though it’s always harder to think of the appropriate or most effective thing to do on the spot. Perhaps next time, once they’re seated say something along the lines of – Good morning/afternoon class, I hope you are all feeling better and more able to concentrate today as we have a lot to get through and make up for last time.

    • Thanks for your comment. Part of me feels that dismissing class was the best thing to do since their behavior was making me very irate. I would rather let them out early than say or do something that I would later regret.

  2. dapperdolly says:

    Oops sorry, forgot to comment on your outfit! I really like your dress, it’s very retro and is made smart with the cardigan and shoes.

    • Thanks! It’s Merona brand which is from Target. I picked it up at a 2nd hand store recently. I bought it because I wanted to add more dresses in my wardrobe that weren’t white, black, or gray. It is so not “me”–the mod print, the colors, the shape, etc., that I had to get it. I feel like I should be holding a roast leg of lamb in these pictures. But, don’t get me wrong, I really like the dress.

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