Saturday, April 19, 2008

How are they doing?

With the end of the 3rd quarter a week hence I have started to receive the guidance counselor's e-mails with lists of students with my predictions about the potential for graduation. Along with that are the comments that parents are a little concerned about Johnny's graduation party that will have all the relatives. Of course, it has only been about 7 months that the kid has had this grade, and even with Instant Messaging, e-mail, and online grades, now every parent has their kid's attention.

Take the list of six students I got from one of the counselors. These were kids with D's or F's on their report card. The response (paraphrased here) went something like this:

Student #1- A knucklehead, but should do fine. Has good attendance and works hard.
Student #2 and #3- Both are struggling with understanding, but are here every day and are trying diligently in the class. I would predict that the students will be ok at the end of the year.
Student #4- Dug a huge hole in the beginning of the year. Has been on and off with work and now expects that everything is good? I would recommend that the parent get a copy of the semesters work and then remind them that school actually goes from January to June.
Student #5- Sorry, but the doe eyes don't do it for me. Attending class does. When you miss two to three classes a week, you're going to have one hell of a time passing.
Student #6- Last time I saw this student was when the Falklands were being disputed by Argentina. Probably not going to make it if I we've been through four presidents and I haven't seen the kid.

I've actually been told by counselors that I can't tell parents that their kid has no chance at graduating this early. I don't really understand that mode of thinking, since it's just a simple mathematic impossibility. Your child hasn't been around in months, they will not pass my class because they don't have the points.

Before you call me "heartless", remember this, I tell my students all year that two things are very difficult in my class, an 'A' and an 'F'. You really need to work for both of them.
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