False Hope

It’s that time of the year again.  The semester is drawing to a close and some students just don’t have a chance to pass.  It might not be their fault.  Maybe they were sick a lot.  It doesn’t matter.  There reaches a point where there are just not enough days left to make up the work.

When I find that I have students who are beyond help, I recommend to the school counselors that these students drop my class and move into one of our alternate programs that hour to work on the classes that can be passed.  I’m trying to be realistic.  I discuss it with the student.  I show them the number of missing assignments and we talk about the number of days that are left.  We discuss math, numbers, and percentages.

Unfortunately, I usually find that there are two people against me on this:  the counselor and the parent.  Both believe that if we just give little Jimmy a chance, he’ll magically turn around what he hasn’t been able to do for fifteen weeks and turn in all of his missing work and raise his abysmal grade to a passing score.  Then, we will all link hands and sing Kumbaya.  Sigh.

Why is it so hard to face reality?  The counselors know me.  I go the extra mile for students.  I make every opportunity for them.  But, I know when hope is gone.  I don’t think it’s particularly helpful that we are giving our students hope that they can pass something that they cannot actually pass.  I understand that they are worried about self-esteem, but who do you think they are going to respect more; the people who lied to them and told them it would all be all right, or the person who was honest and upfront with them about their chances for success?

Imagine if poor Jimmy buys their story.  He works his tail off for the last two weeks of the semester.  Puts in hours and hours of work.  Then, his evil teacher puts in the numbers and…he still fails.  There simply wasn’t enough time to get it all done.  The grade couldn’t be raised.  How is he going to feel now?  Now that he wasted all of that time, worked his tail off, just so he could fail in the end…is that really better for him then just looking at the facts and facing it?

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


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