Current/Recent Reading List

17 January 2008

Gee, Thanks.

The lead teacher from the freshman building told me yesterday she needed to discuss a student with me. Since she only teaches freshmen, and I only have sophomores, and we rarely see each other, I was understandably confused.

Well, turns out she has a Hispanic kid who simply cannot pass the state test for English I, and it turns out that not only is he still learning English, he is basically illiterate in his native language as well. He will be taken to a waiver committee meeting at the county level, and most likely will be allowed to move along to English II, since he is already behind and can pass the English I class (with heavy modifications), but just not the state test.

What she wanted to tell me was that of all the English II teachers, she wanted me to have him this coming semester, and she was passing that wish along to the guidance department.

And so, I am in the rare situation of being ambivalent, or perhaps downright unhappy, about receiving a legitimate compliment. Ah, the teaching life.


Belle said...

A back-handed compliment indeed.

School Master P said...

Belle - I can't figure out what happened to your second comment. I hit the publish button, but it's not showing up, and has disappeared. Please do tell again, if you have time in the midst of our snow extravaganza!

Locomotive Breath said...

Sorry to be harsh, but a student who is illiterate, in two languages no less, has no business being a sophomore in high school. Give him all the help he needs but don't hand him a diploma until he achieves proficiency. Otherwise you simply devalue the diploma for all the students who are proficient.

And dare I ask how the other students are going to suffer while this one student sucks up most of your time? You know he will and you know you'll give it to him. The cynic in me suggests that might be the reason you were chosen.

School Master P said...


To your first point, believe it or not, this kid will have all these modifications written into his "education plan" (a legal document, btw)that will bring what he is required to do down to an elementary school level (i.e., tests read aloud to him, no short answer or essay questions, etc.). And, as long as he does what is required, he is allowed to pass. But, in the bigger picture, you are of course right that this is a ludicrous situation - not at all untypical in public education -just waiting for a Chris Buckley type to write the perfect satirical essay about. This is what happens when we try to fit everyone under the same tent and pretend the education system can serve everyone equally.

To your second point, I actually think I do a fairly poor job of taking one-on-one time with students who have special education plans - a lot of times I just forget, and the kids end up having to do the same work as everyone else, and while they don't make A's usually, they generally do o.k.. The powers that be really are only concerned about it if a kid is failing, anyway. He will be an exception - I'll have to use the heavy modifications with him. But I think she chose me because she thinks my demeanor will work well with him, and I guess she knows I'll not hold his situation against him (though it is not a situation that makes me happy, obviously).

Belle said...

Yeah, my comments were freaky - our computer is a bit troubled. I can't recall what I said, but it was supportive and nurturing!!! And it possibly mentioned the New Yorker article I just read about the MySpace suicide - horrible, but maybe a must-read for those of you dealing with teens on a regular basis.