Perchance, To Dream…
Today is Thursday…including today, that makes these the last two days of school. Grades are pretty much finalized, needing to be submitted for report card review on Friday morning. Graduation, for seniors, will be in the evening, at six thirty.
Things are pretty much done. If a student is going to fail, and either not graduate, or need to make up a course to graduate, they know already.
I do a whole lot to keep that from happening, but the reality is that some students…they just don’t make it. They might miss most of a semester, or not do most of their assignments, or some combination of the two. No matter how hard I work to bring down the fail rate, to intervene to keep students from failing to meet the academic standards…it happens. Part of the job, really.
You never really feel all that good about it. It’s not like if you are any good as a teacher, you’re able to sit back and say, “Well…student A got what they deserved.” If you have any kind of quality, you wind up saying to yourself, “What more could I have done to help out?” You ask yourself where you might have fumbled the ball. It’s almost never entirely the students’ fault.
I have one student who will not be walking across the graduation stage tonight. That student passed my class (they were making it up), but failed the last semester of senior English. There were health related circumstances that could have been “worked with”…the student was both motivated and intelligent, but the other teacher just didn’t give them all that much “wiggle room.” I’m pretty depressed that it didn’t work out differently, and that I won’t be seeing that young person this evening.
That kid didn’t have such lofty ambitions. Graduate, get a diploma, walk across the stage. Have their parents be proud, for a fleeting moment, then get a job, and work. That was their whole plan…I know, the student and I talked about it. Simple dreams…but dreams that kept a young person going.
It seems like a pretty foolish dream to trade for a grade of D. All it would have taken is a D…not even a good passing grade, not a grade that a college transcript would accept. Apparently, dreams can come cheap, and can be lost for even less.