Any serious examination of the issue proves handily that 8th graders are the worst grade to teach.
By this point in their junior high school tenure, 8th graders at the school where I work have 1) hit full, merciless puberty and 2) have figured out that they cannot fail. This combination leads to interesting leaps of logic.
In today’s class, I noticed that, despite threats of repeated lunch/writing dates with me, three students were not doing anything. Their reasoning was that because they had already finished the paper, they were done. When I pointed out that I’d not actually seen a speech from them, they said they’d left their speeches at home. I pointed out that such excuses did not mean they had free time. Instead, they were expected to write something.
However, because I was busy dealing with students who were actually writing, I wasn’t able to police the room as well as I’d have liked. (I was also dealing with a kid who spent the entire class playing Cat’s Cradle with a piece of green yarn, but that’s another story.)
Now the students, after failing today, face the risk that they will forget their paper again tomorrow and will have to join me at a lunch time writing session that will meet every day until they produce a speech.
I predict at least one will forget his speech paper.