Monday, January 07, 2008

One Of The Reasons I Still Teach

I gave my Math B kids a test Friday that came exactly from the questions I gave them to work on over the winter break. Some kids did them, and did well on the exam. Too many of them didn't even bother looking at them. Oh well, their loss. I am sure some have given up already and I can't say I blame them. When you are lost September, October, November and December, it is impossible to get found in January.

One of my kids, N, did not show up for the test. N is usually a hard worker and although not a great math student, a passing student. I offered him a make-up today, provided he brings me a note tomorrow. He took the test. At the end of the period he was still working. I went over to see how he was doing and he said, "I'm sorry. My grandfather died over the weekend and I just could not concentrate and take a test yesterday. My parents don't even know I left school early. I didn't study for this test." I asked him why he even took it. I would have given him a makeup at another time. He said, "I don't want to make any excuses. I had time over the weekend to study. I should not be treated differently than anyone else."

I wanted to hug him but I didn't. I told him not to worry about the test. I would let him work on it when he felt better, or make up another test for him. I told him it is impossible to concentrate when so much stuff is going on around you. He'll be okay, he just has to learn that there is nothing wrong with mourning.

This is the third story I have heard since September about grandparents dying. It is the third time that the kid tried to carry on as if nothing bad had happened in their personal life. I feel blessed to work with such fine students who have respect for their education and their families. I don't understand the ones who won't work when I see these kids that do, in spite of all the hardships they face.


Anonymous said...

The stuggles our students face at home are never considered by the DoE. It's the teacher who has to be everything to the child.

IMC Guy said...

These are the kinds of things we deal with too often. They have such an impact on our students. Luckily this didn't occur around state/federal testing because he would have had to take the test regardless. The Powers that Be don't understand what else impacts the success of our students beyond teaching.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Haiku just for you, Pissed Off:


I keep on teaching
Because each year there's always
One shining student...


Pissedoffteacher said...

I'm lucky--I have many such students.