Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last Week

The last week of school is a hectic time as the school divides into two camps. The first camp is full of desperate students valiantly trying to finish assignments in a last ditch effort not to fail. They are the goof offs, the screw ups, the terminally lazy who under the threat of a deadline have finally decided to complete all their work in a reckless dash towards graduation.

For the seniors it's a hail mary.

The other camp are the students who have taken one look at their grades, assess the situation, decide it's hopeless, and quit.

One would think that this second group would just stop coming to school and make every one's life easier. But they don't. The students may have given up, but they come to school anyway. Home is boring, and the parents don't want to deal with them - not when they can squeeze one more week of babysitting out of the school system.

I've been doing this for five years now, and every year its the same as I work with students near a nervous breakdown in a valiant effort to get them to pass their classes. I'll spend hours after school helping them, I'll argue with their general ed teachers as their advocate, I'll debate with counselors, work out deals with the administration, I'll do everything short of get on my knees and beg.

Especially for the seniors. If they don't graduate in the 4th year, most of them won't come back for a 5th. Should I let them fail? After all, most of the special ed students in danger of failing goofed off most of the year, isn't failing the price they should pay, the natural consequence of refusing to finish assignments on time?

I don't know. Regardless, I try to help them through as best I can. This year it was three seniors in particular that made me sweat bullets. One does all his work, but never turns it in, then he loses the work, and had to redo half a dozen assignments.

That made me scream.

The second student blew off her freshman year, terminated a pregnancy, nearly got expelled for not coming to school, then decided she wanted to graduate. The last semester she was taking all core classes and adult school. We spent the last 3 days hours after school trying to get her to finish up.

Come graduation, she'll walk with the rest of her class - all at the small price of my mental health.

The third student works hard, but needs to be walked, step by step through every essay, every math problem, every answer. She has the work ethic, but processes things slowly, it's like trying to get windows to run on a commodore 64. Somehow she'll graduate - but by this time I'm suffering from post-traumatic stress.

If it wasn't for Garcia some of these kids would have failed.

On top of this are the simpletons who refuse to do any work, but continue to come to school to hang out. To them, the last week of school is one big party. While some of my students work harder then ever, others completely give up and do nothing but talk and disrupt the work being done.

The last week of high school is filled with irony.

It takes an eternity to finish.

But at least I get summer break.

No comments:

Post a Comment