Thursday, May 25, 2017

Unhappy Camper

It's hard as a teacher to give parents bad news.  Most of the time the parents are not surprised.  I've had a challenging year with some of my students.  To begin with, it's hard to fail art.  You have to be a real jackass.  You don't fail art because you are bad at art,  you fail art because you don't even try to put a mark on a piece of paper.  We have students of all ability levels.  We grade on effort.  You can be the worst talented person on the planet, but if you try the assignments and show effort you'll make an A.

I got a call from a counselor today about student a.  The counselor said that student a needed my class to graduate.   This student had a failing grade the first semester and an even lower failing grade the second semester.  Um, all of the points that he got all year were sympathy points.  If I look at his overall effort for the year I could with great kindness give him a 7.   For the year.  The counselor said I needed to talk to a parent so that this student didn't show up for graduation rehearsal tomorrow.

So, I had to call the parent to tell her that her student had failed the class and she said she knew he had because of a meeting she'd had with school people.  I reminded her that I'd sent her emails during the year but she denied getting any. I found an email that she had replied to, so I guess she doesn't remember well.  I guess, she never looked at his report card that did not reflect a single passing grade all year.  It's a little late to get irate about it.

I gave her the courtesy of a phone call as requested by my administration.  I told her that I had tried to work with her student and would have enjoyed working with her student and she said "I'm sorry YOU are so boring."


Student a came in tardy almost every day.  He laid his head down and slept pretty much every day all year. I would wake him up and he'd go back to sleep.  I got a sketch or two out of him all year.  I graded him accordingly.  I reported to administration that I thought he was under the influence.  All he would be accounted for was with being sleepy.

Somehow it is MY fault because my class is boring according to the student who was a total lump all year.  Our class space is precious.  So many kids wanted his seat in the class.  Our classes fill up so fast.  We have to turn children away who WANT to be in our program.

This is the kind of thinking that drives dedicated educators out of the field.  Blame the teacher because the student didn't/wouldn't do the work.  Damn.

We need teachers.  We need individuals who understand the value of an education.  We need to help our community understand the need for education.  We need to support our teachers who are in the trenches.

It's a Gestalt thing.  Also my rant. Pardon me.