Typically, students stay after this class and continue to practice and work with one another, or do additional practice writing activities to improve their skills. This class however, was out the door by 3 pm every day and therefore did not show the same amount of improvement as other classes have done over the years.
I feel that this reflects on me as an instructor. Perhaps they needed better motivating, perhaps I wasn't engaging this group as I have the others, perhaps I had not fostered a strong enough relationship between the students, or to the course itself. Their success indicates my success as an instructor, and the success of the materials that I have created. Where did I go wrong?
So, I asked them, and their response was that they are exhausted. Most have children at home and most have jobs (with one of them actually working night shifts and getting off work at 7 am before heading home to change and then catching public transportation for the 45 minute ride to school). They said they were too depleted to do more than they already were.
As teachers, we can only do so much to ensure an adult student's success before we leave them to walk down their own road. Despite my best intentions, "life gets in the way sometimes", and we need to respect each student's own situation and let them direct their own course of learning as they see fit.