Saturday, September 13, 2008

Boy, does this coffee taste good


Maybe it's because I have no hurries and few worries this morning, but my mug of coffee has taken on an added depth of flavor today. Breakfast is an hour or so away, and someone else is cooking it. There's some chore type stuff to do, but only a few hours worth for the whole weekend. My school work is caught up, and ahead of the game. Nothing must be done on that front either.

Add it up.... and it's likely to be a quiet and relaxing weekend.


Putter through the house chores, do some reloading, glance into my 'to be written' file of post ideas, and darn little more. After a hard week of pounding on young heads, attempting to open them up long enough to pour in some new ideas, I am bushed.

It wasn't a week without successes. Young men who had made it through eleven years of schooling without learning to read a ruler... many of them now can. Those too afraid of numbers to approach them, some are now eating up sheets of practice problems like candy. The best line of the week, from a young gentleman who nearly broke down in tears the first time I asked him to add two numbers... "I don't know why I was scared of this, it's easy!".

is why I do what I do. That single sentence right there. His life is changed forever, and for the better. He's not the only one, but he stood out from the crowd.

Another young man is likely having a very unhappy weekend. He was absent Friday, and probably did not count on me calling his father to check on him. You know, his father who was out of state at a football game.... his father who thought the young man was in school today. His father... who didn't know about the other days missed or the 48% overall grade right now.
Welcome to our world... and yes, if you miss a day we will call home to find out why, and see if you are okay.

I think we have just about stabilized as far as class size and make up. It would be unusual for another student to get dropped in at this point, as it would be an almost certain fail situation. Some more might leave, but unlikely now. Starting at fifty four, we are down to fifty. A week ago thirty of those were failing. Yesterday that number was down to nineteen.

The strata of students are starting to form..... the ones who care, the achievers, are beginning to kick it in gear and get the work done. This group is hard to stay ahead of, and they will do fine in almost everything we give them. Another layer, the strugglers who care.... these will demand the bulk of our one-on-one teaching time. They want it, but have a hard time getting it. The strugglers really challenge our teaching ability and bag of tricks. The last group.... I call sluggos. They are with us because they thought it would be an easy ride. They, to a soul, will have no plans for after graduation more complicated than opening a fresh box of Captain Crunch. There's bloody little we can do for them.... when their only goal is to finish the year with a 60% and graduate. Amongst them will be a few whose goal is to not graduate.... but skim another easy year out of the system and their parents. Yes, it happens, and yes, we have them.

It's been a long, tough, and interesting week. Now for a weekend of recovery...... and it tastes so sweet. Time to refill the mug......


Brigid said...

If Shirley is making that french toast I can be there in 10 hours. :-)

Earl said...

I like looking at your school and classes and trying to imagine what it is and why it is the way you describe. Fantastic stuff, but it shouldn't be, nice to meet a literal Knight in clanking armor.

Somerled said...

Some seeds land in places it looks like they won't grow. Then the sower goes back later and is happily surprised he was wrong. Hopefully some of your sluggos will turn out to be that way.

I smell fresh coffee. I'm going to fetch a cup.