Am I Heartless?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by funshine2381, May 25, 2010.

  1. funshine2381

    funshine2381 Companion

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    May 25, 2010

    I have a 10th grade student that I had last year as well for English. He has always been borderline passing, and runs to me at the last minute before grades come out....only because he plays football and baseball. I always told him there was nothing I could do and that he had to basically suck it up and work harder. (I guess he never took my advice) He barely passed my class last year. Earlier this year, his dad passed away. While he was out due to his father's passing, I didn't send any work home and didn't make him responsible for it. I figured that he had WAY too much on his plate as it was. The rest of the year...like it was last year....he acted up in class, wasn't prepared and never studied. Baseball is extremely important to him....so I let him pass for this last 6 weeks (I basically bumped up his grade, but didn't tell him). He took his final today and totally bombed it. He made the lowest grade in his entire grade. So, when I factored that grade in, he still barely passed for the year....but only because I helped him for this final 6 weeks. One of my coworkers has his sister and she said that "she was just going to pass her on through" because of her dad. I'm new and I did the same thing. BUT, I feel crappy about it. He didn't deserve it. I would feel better about it if he had been working even semi hard and just struggled during the time of his dad's passing and after. I guess it doesn't help that he came into my class yesterday and said "It's your fault I failed the TAKS test." As far as I'm aware, he has never passed the TAKS in the past. I didn't want to be the B**CH because it's a small town and I know everyone would be saying "I can't believe she failed the poor guy after his dad died." Am I an ugly person for wanting to fail him?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 25, 2010

    I wish I could say I would have failed him if I was in your shoes, but I'm not sure if I would have either. We all know that sometimes politics plays a part in the school and I'm not going to criticize you for the decision you made.
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    May 25, 2010

    Look at it this way: the D- that you give him isn't going to be the grade that keeps him out of Harvard.
     
  5. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    May 25, 2010

    It is sad his dad died, however, you worked with the situation. He is still responsible for doing the work to pass the class. I had a student whose father passed away this year. He was out a long time, and I too excused him from most of the work he missed (not to mention making up a pig dissection is hard). In contrast, though, this kid is dong fine in the class, even though he's had a tough year.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2010

    If you're talking about what he "deseverd"--- he didn't deserve to have his dad die either, right?

    You said this:"So, when I factored that grade in, he still barely passed for the year." So you helped him when his world crashed, and he managed to eke out a passing grade.

    If you've read any of my posts, you know I'm big on content. But at some point we need to take a step back and realize that we're teaching real kids with real issues. If football and baseball kept him sane, then thank God for football and baseball.

    Big picture-- he can catch up on the content next year. This year his world crashed down.

    You did the right thing.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2010

    I agree with Alice. Yes, academics are important, but sometimes they need to take a back seat. For your student, coming out of the year sane and with his credits is an accomplishment. Kids all deal with tragedy in different ways--some throw themselves into school work, others into sports, others withdraw into themselves or retreat into drugs, alcohol or other dangerous behaviours. In the scheme of things, he came out of this year fairly well; next year will be his time to pull it all together.
     
  8. funshine2381

    funshine2381 Companion

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    May 26, 2010

    I hope he does pull it together next year, because I guess my point is that he never had it together. I didn't see a change in his behavior towards school...it was the same last year as it was this year. Sports has always taken priority in his world, before and after his father's passing. He actually had a 69 for the class last year, and I bumped it up. And no, he didn't deserve to have his dad die, but we have to learn that the world isn't going to stop when terrible things happen and we still have responsibilities. I know I did the right thing, I would just feel better about it if he hadn't always been a huge slacker (and complainer and a disruption).
     
  9. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    May 26, 2010

    Wish I could have said it better. Totally agree.

    There is a point that we have to take one kid at a time and assess them only for themselves.
     
  10. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2010

    I agree with Alice.
    I also think you should lay some of the blame on the coaches. They should have seen his grades & said something abut them needing to be raised to stay eligible! I know our coahes also stressed school work... if we had to miss some of practice to get help than that's what had to happen. I can tell you my coach would even help us with our school work on our bus trips or while we were waiting for the other team was playing.

    I will agree with you it had to have been a tough year, but we all have things we have to struggle through & not everyone handles it the same way, but you can't use that as an excuse for the rest of your life either... (I don't mean to sound harsh, that's not my intent.)
     
  11. funshine2381

    funshine2381 Companion

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    May 26, 2010

    I live in South Texas, where football is a HUGE deal. We are pressured BY the coaches to pass them....they don't do anything to help. Yep....I got into teaching and I guess I'm going to have to learn the mentality that I'm always going to have to come up with excuses for kids. Pass them because "all they have is football...they come from a horrible home, their mom is in jail, he has a baby to care for, his mom has 9 kids with 9 fathers,....pass them so they can have the only thing they love in life...football" But that is an entirely different thread! I won't go into my own sad story, but I had to hit rock bottom before I got on top. If people had constantly made excuses for me....who knows where I would be right now.
     
  12. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2010

    OH... I've been to TX & seen it for myself!!! It's sad that's what they think is so important!!! I feel for you in that regard!!!
     
  13. StudentTeach

    StudentTeach Comrade

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    May 26, 2010

    My own dad passed away two months ago in my last semester of college. I debated not student teaching, taking incompletes, going on leave, the whole gammot. One of my professors at the end of the semester even told me that I did "A quality work but my absences would bring it to a B" (now that's heartless). I could have crumbled and fallen apart but I did the opposite and got my first 4.0 in my very last semester when my whole life fell apart. I can't really compare myself to other people, though. Everyone goes through something like this differently. I just want you to be aware that it IS possible to succeed even in times of crisis.
     
  14. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2010

    StudentTeach... hugs to you!!! What a tough year you have had!!!

    I know some teacher's have no hearts!!! I know when I was in college, I missed a day to go with hubby on a trip to California. Then my gpa passed away a few weeks later... not expecting that. I came to my class after the funeral because I was only allowed 2 days. She still dropped my grade because I had missed... not she was a b***ch!!!

    Stuff happens & you have to be flexible, but also own up to your responsibilities!!!
     
  15. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    May 26, 2010

    Think of it this way......


    Giving him a passing grade is your endorsement as a professional saying that he has demonstrated proficeincy to you. If he hasn't demonstrated it, he's not ready to move to the next level.

    Compassion is giving him every opportunity to demonstrate it, not setting him up for failure by passing him along without the necessary skills.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2010

    He was an academic mess before his father passed...and didn't seem to care.
     
  17. dogs&teaching

    dogs&teaching Comrade

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    May 27, 2010

    A couple weeks before my senior year started, my grandfather that I was extremely close to passed away. I took it really hard. I was skipping school and doing things I shouldn't have been. I had one teacher who literally went out of his way to purposely fail me because "Just because someone I knew died, didn't mean that I could skip his class, make up the work, and pass the class." After the administration went through all my work and did a thorough investigation, they determined that I was more than eligible to pass. The teacher resigned that year.
     

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