‘Don’t hand me a fricking packet’

“Get up and teach. Don’t hand me a fricking packet,” says Jeff Bliss, a high school student in Duncanville, Texas. It’s gone viral.

About Joanne


  1. At my school we’re being pushed towards group work and so-called discovery learning. Why do I, as a teacher, even need to know anything? I don’t have to teach anymore.

  2. Along with the great, hard-working teachers and the average ones, there are those who either don’t know what they’re doing or are just going through the motions.

    Has it ever occurred to the ed world that their insistence that teachers should be “guides on the side, not sages on the stage” might be correlated with decreased respect for teachers? Once, teachers were supposed to have important knowledge to impart to students; now, students are supposed to discover their own knowledge (aka pooling their ignorance).

  3. Sure made me want to slap that teacher… Someone needs to take up a collection to send that kid to a school where he can learn. It’s a terrible waste to just coast him through the system.

    • Obi-Wandreas says:

      I have to second that opinion.

      Before watching the video, I was confused. What’s wrong with packets? I myself often give packets out. Of course, these packets consist of a page or two of example problems and diagrams, (which we complete and fill in together, using the smart board and talking through the problems step-by-step, with plenty of space for notes), followed by a number of practice problems, all of which I have generated myself. Since that’s what I think of a packet as, I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.

      I gather by this video that this teacher is handing out preprinted packets and expecting the kids to learn from them on their own while she sits there?!? An automated kiosk could perform that duty. If that kiosk had a camera, you could have a minimum wage clerk monitoring several classrooms at once.

      The only time you’ll ever find me sitting down when there are kids in my room is the last 5-10 minutes of dismissal when there are only a handful left awaiting their busses. If we want our profession to be respected, we cannot tolerate such a useless waste of space taking up a position that so many energetic and talented people would give anything for.

  4. I want to know more about this situation than this one video. I’ve read that the student who vocalizes his issues is a previous dropout who returned to school, so I know that, but that’s all I know.

    Before I can speak to the merits of what we see, I’d like to know what class it is, what methods the teachers typically uses, and how long the kid has been in the class.

    I think most of us are assuming that the teacher passes out packets of worksheets and then sits at her desk all year long, expecting the students to teach themselves the material, rather than offering more interesting and enlightening direct instruction. I would consider this pretty bad teaching, and I would expect that a good school administration would address this. In Texas insubordination is probably grounds for dismissal, and if the principal wants to see direct instruction, he or she need only require it, and this issue takes care of itself one way or another.

    But what if this isn’t the situation at all? What if these kids have had traditional teacher-led instruction for most of the year but are now in a short window of independent remediation before they take or re-take an assessment? What if Mr. Got-to-touch-their-hearts just dropped back in and was placed in this class because of when he dropped out previously? I’m not sure that the independent study assignments should be abandoned just because he decided he’d enjoy interpersonal interaction more.

    I would never defend kids just doing worksheets all the time, ever. But I’ve noticed that many of my students can’t or work do independent work, even when the assignments are actually teacher-made assignments, closely correlated to previous instruction and future work. The kids have come to expect that most things be immediately entertaining and engaging or that they are somehow “busywork.” I’m not sure reinforcing this expectation is good for any of us in the long run.

  5. This is one of those situations in which no one appears to be acting correctly.

  6. BadaBing says:

    At my school, the vast majority of kids are not interested in learning. So the packet mentality prevails. (I know of one teacher who gave his students packets for the entire last ten weeks of school, while he stood at the podium, saying, “Do your work.”) And a grade is not about learning: “Why am I getting a D? I did all my work!” So it’s about turning in “work” with no regard to learning content, and most of the “work” that’s turned in looks like crap, like the kid wrote with his foot, and the answers are either wrong or copied, and all the copied “work” has all the same exact errors that the Q document had. It goes on. Bottom line is that I loathe this mentality and never give out packets. Shame, shame on any teacher with a packet mentality.

  7. Packets are used here for students who are not strong auditory learners and have teachers who cannot or will not teach to the visual learning style. Usually its in science and social studies but we had one in math too – — the teacher wants to just lecture or talk about him/herself to fill the air. After the first failed quiz, they scream about students ‘not listening’ and start handing out packets and textbooks. The students then have to use their classtime deciding whether to skim and pick out the packet info, or read and understand the material.I moved my kid out of a Regent’s Earth Science packetperson class when the teacher showed us her model of the earth and how she was explaining the moon’s rotation and consequent shadowing of the earth….no way did any kid in there get the concept from her model that was no bigger than an orange and skipped the light source in favor of her blabbing. I afterschooled mathfor fifth grade as that was the year the ‘teacher’ had the students copy lecture notes off the board and screamed at them if they asked a question. I don’t know anyone that learns fractions verbally instead of visually, but that was the expectation. Some teachers need to be let go, but in this era of nepotism that is not going to happen.Parents need to find a different teacher when their children get duds.

  8. The school year’s almost over. Maybe this teacher has tried hard all year long to engage the students, to get them interested in learning – only to find that all her efforts are wasted on dumb, deaf ears? At some point, a teacher’s going to crack, and it’s usually near the end of the year if they’re a good teacher who holds out. This was probably in that short after STAAR – but – before Final Exams period of a few weeks where you’re lucky if you get the students to even acknowledge your existence, much less learn…