Sunday, June 03, 2007

Let the whining begin!

Now they care...

School lets out next week and the beggars are at the schoolyard gates, pleading for grades that will allow their children to graduate from the eighth grade.

I think the fact that I now have three mothers whining, complaining, and blaming is a beautiful illustration of why they are in the position of having to do so in the first place.

I mean, if your mommy can come in and save the day at the last minute, why bother lifting a finger yourself with tedious things like reading and writing? It seems that one thing some kids do learn is that their parents will always support them by finding someone else to blame. They might be in trouble for a few days, but it beats the heck out of actually working for nine months!

How many other years have they made this mad rush, pulling out all the stops in order to save their babies hides academically? I'll tell you how many: plenty.

Of course it is my fault, just ask their mothers.

It is my fault that one kid writes more on the desk than he ever did on a piece of paper.

It is my fault that in spite of intense personal attention--George, go ahead and open the book and get started. George, please put that away and start your work, George, can I help you get started...--I have students who turn nothing in, but still expect to get a grade.

It is my fault that I have the audacity to actually keep track of the times they are tardy.

It is my fault that the parents "had no idea" even when I send home progress reports and e-mails regularly.

The problem these days is we have too many no-fault parents and students.

Can I give just one example?

I have one student who will scribble a few things on the paper if I hover over him constantly (never mind I have 30 other students). When mom finds out he is getting an F, she pleads that I give him a C. She is shocked that I would be so callous as to not comply with that request.

She calls again towards the end of the year: She understands that he hasn't done anything the entire trimester, but would I please be so kind as to give her a list of the assignments so he could turn them in late?

Instead of saying no, I tell her that we should just start with seeing how he does with a couple of extra credit projects. I do as the mother wants and hand the student a list of extra credit assignments that very day. I explain the simplest of them to him and make sure he understands that this is the first step toward getting out of the hole he is in.

I occasionally check with the student to see if the assignments are done and he gives me a smirk that clearly says, "Yeah, right. Like I had any intention of ever doing them."

Now there is a week left in school and he is at 30 percent. Mom is hopping mad that I plan to give him an F. She says that if I had only e-mailed her the list of assignments (easily available from my website which I always told her about), he would have done them.

She just informed me that she is going to complain about me to the district. Maybe it is because my last words to her via e-mail were: "If you are unhappy about the grade that your son will be getting, maybe you ought to talk to him about that."

Only four more days til the end of school!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that grates me to no end. I don't think it gets any better in college. I really get sickened with my peers when they just totally balk on a class and expect to cry and whine their way to something passing. I swear, I'm going to get an "F" stamp that really, really, really looks nice and keep it right on my desk along with a gentle reminder. Get your ass in gear. Just that simple.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

An F stamp; I like it. I probably won't do it because I am so kind and nice, but when I see them in summer school I want to ask them at 8 a.m. what they think most other kids are doing right now. They just don't do well thinking beyond the moment.

jon said...

It's not just them that can not think beyond the moment. It's ingrained in the culture. I had a heated debate with a fellow in liverpool who wanted to know why I didn't support an armed insurrection my "brothers" during apartheid when they finally had military backing. for 40 minutes the ONLY question I asked was, "Who's supplying the weaponry?" until finally he said, "The communists." So I asked, "Why would I want to replace one for of oppression in support of another?"

The conversation ended there because he knew that I would never give in to such a myopic ideology when I had a philosophy that was more comprehensive.

Students like that grow up to be ideologues like the fellow with whom i debated. And in the end, it's not just them that suffer, but an entire culture.

Ugly Naked Guy said...


I don't know if "grow up" is the right word, because I know people in the work world who act just like the students I am talking about and the gentleman you mentioned.

The main difference being that the adults who can't think past the moment don't usually have their mama's calling to complain when they can't cut it in life. I said usually.