Friday, May 27, 2011

A Knife In The Heart Of Education

I sat around all afternoon waiting for kids to show up so I could help them with their credit recovery assignments.  Two showed up ten minutes into the first period.  One had gotten the slip of paper listing the assignment, the other wondered why he hadn't.  Him, I sent to guidance.  He was resistant saying his counselor never had time for him but I insisted he go, assured him the counselor would be happy to help.  Hopefully he followed my advice.   The other I cajoled into sitting down and starting.  I asked him if he was studying for the regents and how he thought he would do.  He just shook his head and said he didn't know much.  I told him I was here to help and he got started.  It only took me 30 seconds to realize this boy was lost.  It never occurred to him to take out a pencil and paper.  He didn't even know the sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees.  He worked for about 20 minutes, answered one without help (which he got wrong) and about 5 with my help (which he got right.)  I don't know if he will bother to do any on his own or even return.  The whole thing seemed sad to me. Even if he gets the credit, he will still not know very much.

As bad as the first period was, the next two got worse.  No one showed up, not for math or for the other subject help was being offered in.  I had even called the parents of my students, telling them of this opportunity and my help.  I've stopped the kids in the hall and almost begged them to come.  A colleague said she couldn't understand  why the kids aren't taking advantage of this free gift they are being offered.  I don't agree.  The kids know they can't do the work and can't stand the frustration of failing again.  They know that they couldn't do the work in class and have no expectations of being able to do it on their own.

(Continued here.)

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