Friday, January 08, 2010

Jimmy was in my geometry class last year. He is a great kid, a hard worker, extremely polite and respectful, a leader on one of the JROTC teams and a favorite of everyone who knows him. Unfortunately, academics is not one of his strong points, no matter how much he tries.

Jimmy is one of the kids Mr. AP was on my case about passing last year because he failed the regents. I convinced Jimmy to retake the regents in January and have even helped him a few times. Today he stopped me in the hall and said, "Happy new year, Ms. I am sorry I haven't come for tutoring. My English thesis paper is almost due and it is so hard. I have to write five pages. I've been meeting with my English teacher every day so she can help me with it." Of course I told Jimmy not to worry and that I would help him whenever he is ready.

Jimmy's English teacher doesn't understand why the kids in her class are not producing the required papers. She says the topic is easy and five pages is not that much. And, she is correct. A bright, or even average high school student could probably produce this paper with a minimum amount of effort but, kids like Jimmy, are overwhelmed. Mr. AP was upset when I passed Jimmy. He doesn't think Jimmy will bother with the regents since he already passed the class. He doesn't understand how overwhelmed Jimmy is.

This one size fits all education doesn't fit. Jimmy might end up in a two year college. How he does there is any one's guess. But, if a five page paper is too much for him here, how will he ever survive there?

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