A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Thursday, May 7, 2015

No excuses, no regrets

I have often said this year that, despite his role in the Special Ed. Mafia that George is a redemptive character. It's not my place to condemn anyone. I therefore avoid doing so. I do my best not to harbor any grudges and leave the door open. Occasionally, I go unpunished for my open door policy -- my Uncle Harold loved to share these words of wisdom, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Today, George returned from his time in in-school-suspension, having missed Monday and Tuesday's lessons on coordinate points. After George began to bellow in frustration about not knowing how to plot points, I calmly gestured for him to step into the hall and reminded him that, as a result of his own decisions, he had missed lessons where I had introduced the parts of the coordinate plane, and modeled how to plot points. I asked George to please try to be patient and pay attention while I reviewed the parts of the coordinate plane and how to plot points before moving forward with a lesson on how to graph shapes on the coordinate plane.

George asked if he could come into my room during the Enrichment and Remediation period for which I do not hold a class, As my door is generally always open, I helped George point by point, line by line until he finished. Proud of his accomplishment, George asked if I would hang it up. He wondered about the red circle T, "Is that an F?" he asked, whereupon I explained that the circle T meant that the work had been done with teacher assistance, so I could not use it as an assessment. George seemed to enjoy hanging up his kite next to Suzette's Circle Graph.

"That's all I have ever wanted from you, I could hug you -- but I won't," I exclaimed.

Students have been responding to my no excuses, no regrets invitation to come to my room up to 5 days per week after school until May 22, the Friday before the state test. Some of those invitations have been made over the speaker phone, in conference calls with parents. Others have been made with just the suggestion that, perhaps, a call needed to be made.

Today, I helped somewhere around 10 students with their SOL prep packets after school. What I've been telling students is that, up until May 22'd I will do everything I can so that I will be able to end the year knowing I have done everything I could to make myself available to students, and would allow students to make corrections with my help until then, for full credit, because I did not want to end the year with any regrets, and did not want students to have any regrets. After the 22'nd I concluded, there was nothing I could do, because if students had not prepared themselves by that time, there would be no way for them to be ready by the 29th.

Yesterday, I learned from another student that, during lunch bunch, without my permission, Allen had grabbed an answer key so that he could "self-check" his work. I promptly began circling all of his problems for which he had shown no work and told him: "That's all right, I will mark any problems for which work is not shown as wrong, even if they are correct," This morning, I mentioned to him that I was planning to call his mom, not because he was in any trouble with me, but because I was disappointed about his decision, especially since he knows full well that I would allow him to make corrections up until the 22nd, and all I care about his that he understands what he is doing. Allen agreed to work with me after school on Friday, which is a reasonable consequence for him pretending to know something when he really did not know what he was doing.

Allen, who has been hearing my warnings all year not to be "Mr. 399, the kid who fails the test by one point," heard my no excuses, no regrets message loud and clear.

Today, there was buzz in the office about a parent of one of my students who wouldn't leave before he met with Dr. P. I was asked by another teacher if there was any problems that I was aware of. I replied, "maybe it's a good thing, because Mr. Hamza is very happy" with the progress his son has made, both academically, and socially.

Still haven't notified Mr. Farmer of everybody on my F list. Need to sleep, wake up, and grade. Tomorrow night, after the Friday after school session, I will rush over to watch my son play down with the JV team, since for once he won't be sitting on the bench. There is no slowing up.