Thursday, February 26, 2009
I'm A Mule
I have to say the last words in any argument I am in. That is one of my big faults. Here goes my latest argument on why credit recovery and late afternoon school should be done away with.
A few years ago there was a big move to get a large group of seniors who had only passed one term of math in the past to graduate. Because of my track record with difficult kids, I was assigned this task. (I actually volunteered for it. I love a challenge.)
My class consisted of 28 seniors, kids who had not only failed math, but had failed multiple subjects. In addition to my double period of math, they were going to Saturday school and late afternoon school. They were also doing independent study in various subjects.
These kids, not the hardest workers to begin with, were overwhelmed with work. Now, they could never get into class on time to begin work. First, they had to walk around and say hi to all their friends and make sure everyone got the little kiss on the cheek. Then, as they did the math, they also did their history homework and worked on their art projects. When I asked for math homework, sometimes I got it, and sometimes I got "Ms, I had evening school yesterday. I had no time to do it." One day Charlie told me he couldn't do any homework because he had to wait on line all night so he could be the first to purchase a pair of sneakers that was going to be available that day. He did no work for any classes that day or the next. He was too tired from being up all night.
While I don't believe in credit recovery and programs like these, I believe in doing my best for my kids and through lots of hard work, 27 out of 28 of them passed the regents and got their back credits. Some graduated, some fell short in other areas and had to graduate in August or the following January. I felt good and bad at the same time. I got them to graduate but I did not teach them any math. I taught them how to get over. I told them "I only work here. I have to do the job my supervisors ask me to do."
All semester, I told these seniors that I was teaching them to get over. And, while I tried to teach the math and the concepts, I mostly concentrated on test preparation. I sometimes meet some of those students at the community college I work at and feel sad about their lack of preparation. I wonder if they would have been better off spending the extra year in high school, really learning something, and then going on to college. Maybe then their college years would be more successful.
Enough said, I might not get the last word but I made sure I got the longest one.