Monday, April 11, 2011

Opening Her Mind

Peggy doesn't care for school much.  Well, that is not exactly true.  She likes school, she just doesn't like going to classes or doing any work.  In spite of getting a 40 in my class, Peggy and I have a great relationship and always spend a few minutes chatting when we pass in the hall.

Today I asked Peggy how she is doing in math this term.  Last time we had that conversation she was doing quite well.  I knew there was trouble when she hesitated before answering and then told me the class started too early for her (She doesn't do 9:15.)  I made the mistake of asking her about college and she told me she doesn't have any future plans.  I then asked her what she didn't want to do and she couldn't answer either.  I asked her about a future of cleaning bed pans and vomit?  She made a face and said "no way."  I then asked her how she felt about cleaning tables and bathrooms in McDonald's or picking up dog poop and she gave me the same answer.

Peggy is no closer to making a decision about her life.  She is only 15 and while I don't expect her to change her ways, but I got her thinking.  Knowing what she doesn't want might end up being just as useful as knowing what she wants.


Anonymous said...

I keep asking my students like Peggy if they think their parents are going to live forever....sounds cruel but it does get them thinking!

Mr. W said...

funny I tell my students, the higher ones, never to leave home. To suck up every last penny they can before they are finally kicked out :-)

The smart ones find it funny to think like that, while some of the lower students get this look like I just solved all of their life problems for them.

Sonja said...

I ask my students (sp. ed.) "Are you going to be a plumber or politician?" And that by high school most kids at least have a fuzzy idea of what they want to do but maybe not how to articulate it. So we go through plumber vs politician type questions and then we talk about where they are going to live and I usually start out with "parents' basement until they are 40 peeing in pop bottles". The parents that attend IEP meetings and hear this questions whole-heartedly say "HELL NO" but the kids just look crushed!

And so few of these kids have their driver's license!! They don't even want to learn to drive!! If we lived in a huge city like NYC that had good public transportation that would be one thing - but this is WV - where it's 5 miles for a gallon of milk and no taxi, subway, or bus line within 3 miles of your house (if you're lucky).

What happened to ambition? Of wanting to start your life and do things that ADULTS do??

Anonymous said...

Not the right age to be asking these questions. Peggy does not have the brain power with which to answer. Or even think about. Check back in with her when she's 25-27. By then she will have a clearer idea. How do I know this? Twenty one years of experience with my former students. They all seem to get with the program at that age range.