As I was locking my classroom door, the head sixth-grade teacher called me aside. “I need to talk to you,” she said. “I have one of your special ed students for after-school tutoring, but I’ve been told that someone from your department needs to tutor her.”
My heart sank. Add another two hours to my school day?
I looked down the hall. There was M-Girl, leaning against the wall, slowly shuffling toward the tutoring room. With her slumped shoulders and downcast eyes, she might have been a condemned prisoner taking her last walk.
M-Girl and I get along well. She was one of my students last year. She’s not a problem behaviorally, and she always calls out my name enthusiastically when she sees me in the hall.
M-Girl is now in eighth grade. She has limited cognitive ability and, in my opinion, tutoring will not significantly improve her linguistic and mathematical skills. But her parents want her to participate in the tutoring program, so reluctantly M-Girl stays after school four days a week.
I understand her reluctance. By the time the closing bells rings, the last thing I want to do is stay in my classroom until 5:30 p.m. Maybe I’m being selfish, but I’m inclined to say no.
However, I did tell the head teacher that I’d think about it and talk it over with the other special ed teacher. What I’m hoping, of course, is that my colleague will jump at the chance to earn an extra $200 per week.
But if she doesn’t?