"Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, money; It is a process, a never-ending one." -bel kaufman

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


the plea.

it is quite a task to effectively manage twenty, sometimes twenty-five students.
i have the most difficulty dealing with the fact that i cannot spend reasonable one-on-one time with students and simultaneously guide the entire class through a proper lesson. today, one of my students asked me, "what's my grade?" i couldn't tell him. i didn't want to. yes, he is failing my environmental science class. failing from lack of work. failing from zero class participation. but i still felt responsible for his apathy. i told him, "you don't do any work. i have nothing for which i can give you a passing grade." he is a sincere kid. he isn't rambunctious and disruptive. if he could stay awake in class, he might manage a C. but here he is, pleading for anything but an F after he spent an entire class period ignoring the worksheet on his desk in front of him. he stares at me for a couple seconds... i think i see worry in his eyes. something hits me: he is going to suffer some sort of consequence for this F. maybe his parents will punish him. or perhaps his academic advisor just told him he's on his last chance. will this grade push him out of school? he has great attendance. he is here every day with the potential to learn, but i have yet to reach him with work that stimulates his interest. he is bored with school. he does not yet see where high school could take him. he just wants to pass to satisfy the demands set for him by someone else. who does this remind me of?


my little sister gave me words of encouragement back in october, telling me what she felt i had to offer to students: "think of how hard a time the two of us had in school.... your endless patience and constant wonderment are reasons why you need to be in the school system."


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