Summer School: Day 5
My co-teacher and I had our electronic grade book open as the students lined up to be escorted to the bus. B-Girl rushed over to our desk and asked eagerly, “What do I have in math?”
“You?” I said, feigning disappointment. “About a 20 percent.”
“How do you know?” I said.
“Because,” B-Girl replied, “I believe in myself and I can’t get anything less than an 80 percent.”
“Well, you have a 93,” I conceded. (It’s the highest math grade in the class at the moment.)
B-Girl exudes self-confidence. She doesn’t get everything right, but she tries—hard—and when she makes a mistake, she tries to figures out what went wrong and attempts to fix it. She’s not afraid to ask questions when she doesn’t understand, and she is rarely off task.
I wish all of our students were like B-Girl.
Instead, we have A-Boy, who falls asleep in class—every day. Today was his last chance to stay awake in summer school, and he blew it. The director sent A-Boy home with a note to his parents, saying that he need not return tomorrow and that he will be retained in sixth grade next year.
We have K-Boy, who catches on to new concepts right away, but prefers not to participate in the guided practice portion of the lesson. Alas, when it comes time for independent practice, K-Boy is woefully unprepared and has to ask for help again and again.
And we have C-Boy, who usually neglects to bring his Accelerated Reading book to school, and, as a consequence, must sit out the entire SSR (Silent Sustained Reading) period staring into space or dozing.
What does it take, I wonder, to turn students who are indifferent to learning into students who hunger for knowledge so fiercely that they will not tolerate any impediment to their progress?