Saturday, August 05, 2006

Double Dipping: It's not just for George Costanza anymore.

In a comment yesterday, Colleen wondered how my new classes
would work, what with teaching some kids the same subject two
hours a day, with two different teachers. I, too, wonder how it
will turn out.

Here's the deal. It's called 'double dosing', though many of the
teachers we've talked to about it call it 'double dipping' as a joke.
Kids who fail Math or Communication Arts have to 'double dose'
the next year. Maybe the next semester, if we want to catch them
early. That means they have to give up 50 minutes that would have
been an elective class to take the additional Math or CA. I am the
'double dose' teacher. I am supposed to teach the same concepts,
but in my own way, with different assignments.

Colleen said that some kids may learn better from a different
teacher. That's the whole point of presenting the information in
two different ways. I've always had kids in my At-Risk classes
tell me, "Oh, that's so easy. I understand it when you show me,
but I don't with Mr/Mrs regular teacher.

Now don't be thinking I'm on a big ego trip. Of course I can
explain it better for some kids. I don't have 34 other kids to
supervise at the same time. I have small classes, and can give
individual attention. That's the whole purpose of the At-Risk
class. The student can get the one-on-one attention without 34
other kids trying to interrupt.

I am cautiously optimistic about my new 'double dipping'. But I
am realistic, and do have some concerns as well.

How do we measure the success of my little 'double dippers'?
Is it based on grades in the regular Math or CA class? How do
we know it is because of my class? We also have a program
which started last semester that mandates any student with an 'F'
for a course attend two weeks of afterschool tutoring. Some
students will keep their grades up because they don't want to stay
after. Some students will want that elective class back, like band,
and get their grades up to get out of 'double dose' and back into
the elective. What if we measure success by standardized test
scores? That means we have to wait until a couple months after
the school year ends. That seems like a long time to see if there's

Another issue that concerns me is class size. With my regular
At-Risk, the class has been limited to 10 students each class
period. Now I will supposedly have between 10 and 15 students
per class. Still, that is about half the size the regular Math or CA
teacher will have. On the other hand, mine will all be students
who have failed the class. Again, this could be easier, since they
are all on the same level. Then again, failing students are generally
not noted for their good behavior. Is it easier to have 35 students
with A and B students mixed in to buffer the behavior of the
D and F students? Or is it easier to have 15 F students? See?
This issue is not black and white.

I am hoping that I will be able to help these students improve
their basic skills. While I would prefer a smaller class size, I will
make do with what I am given. I have had my years of being the
regular teacher with 35 students per class. It is a challenge to
present the information in a way to challenge the high achievers,
but to keep the interest of the low achievers. I have also had 10
DoNots per class. Classroom discipline has never been an issue
for me.

Now watch that last statement come back to bite me in the butt.
Then you will see me on the news: "Students Bite Teacher's Butt!
Film at 10:00!" Then I will lose my anonymity. I will have to go
into the Butt-Biter Protection Program. I shall rue the day that I
made that statement. I will forever be remembered as "that teacher
who let students bite her butt." Though there is plenty of HM's
butt to go around, there are most certainly laws against that sort
of thing. It carries a stigma. People will murmer to each other
as I walk by "There goes that Butt Bitee. I hear she had a thirst
for butt-biting." And another will reply, "She yearned for it." Then
when I get within earshot, they will smile and nod at me, and
snicker behind their hands after I pass by. Butt-Biter-hating
bigots! People piss me off!

Now I've gotten all worked up again. But I really am looking
forward to this year. To see if I can make a difference. I love
a good challenge.


Kristine said...

Best wishes for a fabulous school year this year! You sound like a great teacher. I recently found your blog and read through some archives - you used to coach volleyball at a small school in southern Missouri that my dad was high school principal of for awhile (while I was in 3-8th grade). I wanted to email you about it, but I can't find an email link from your blog. Can you email me at Thanks. :)

Chickadee said...

I gots all my fingers and toes crossed for you. I wish that I had the same opportunity that these kids get. I was HORRIBLE at math and guess what, my school was so small that I had the same frickin' math teacher in 6th, 7th AND 8th grade. And in my opinion, her math teaching skills had a lot to be desired. She focused mostly on the kids that understood the math, not those like me that floundered with it.

Struggled with it also throughout high school and college, though here and there there was a teacher that taught the class and I just GOT it right off the bat.

I'm glad you're doing it. I know you will rule with an iron hand if necessary, but you may be surprised...the kids may not misbehave so much when they understand the material and aren't frustrated.

deadpanann said...

Classroom discipline never an issue? Ever? Shit, you're a freakin' miracle woman! You should be allowed to have your butt bitten if you want! In fact, let me bite it--- I need some of that power!

I'd rather have 15 F students than 35 of anything. I did after school detention a few times last year, and I made them work while they were there. As long as there aren't so many that you can't spread them out a little, it's better. They were less rebellious in those conditions and I think it's because they didn't have the same audience.

Stacie said...

I wish my duaghter's school had a double dip program. She would certainly qualify. She had to go to summer school the entire month of June. That's their double dip program. I know, I'm calling it double dip, but it just feels right calling it that.

Hillbilly Mom said...

I don't think I'm a great teacher, but I love my job. Even when people piss me off. Email mission accomplished.

Some people are just not good at Math. I am not good with direction. I used to get lost in Famous Barr at Battlefield Mall in Springfield. It was freakin' ROUND! With MIRRORED WALLS! I didn't know if I was coming or going. If I write down directions to get somewhere, I have to write them down backwards to get home. I can never remember where I've been.

Miss Ann,
I'm don't claim to be a miracle woman, but I am psychic and OH SO PRETTY. Perhaps I should have emphasized that discipline was never an issue FOR ME. Sure, I've had kids that I had to send to the office. Not a lot, but there were some persistent offenders. I tell them right off that I can't have disruptive behavior in my classroom. It depends on the crime. I tell them that if they can't control their behavior, I will have to discuss it with their parents. If their parents can't control it, I'm sure the principal can find a way. The kids usually knock it off. Because most of our parents give a sh*t, at least enough of a sh*t that THEY don't want to be embarrassed by their kid showing his butt all day long. If they break a school rule, I have no choice but to send them to the office. I am The Enforcer. Just ask the ones I narc-ed on that got sent to rehab.

I agree about the 15. They act up in the first place to GET ATTENTION. With fewer students, they get more attention, and their craving is fed.

We have to watch out for parents who demand their kid is put into my class because he got a 'C' in one class instead of an 'A' like all his other classes. There's not many of them, but every year somebody demands it. They'd like to take up room that kids like your daughter who really need it should have.