Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Yesterday wasn't great. Today was worse.

I'm not sure what the catalyst was. There was an important two-part assessment test to determine his academic path. The first half he did very well; the second he wouldn't even attempt to do.

And that was the start of the end. For the rest of the day, he simply refused to do any coursework. He wouldn't go to lunch. He wouldn't go to the bathroom. He wouldn't go to P.E.

Talking with one of the concerned parties later, I asked a question that I still don't know the answer to: How do I measure success in this endeavor?

What can I reasonably expect to accomplish? It's clear that no matter how I might stumble into positive developments, he's not going to miracle his way to being at the level others are. His academic skills are underdeveloped. When he isn't disruptive (as he was for most of today), that still doesn't mean he's going to attempt to do the work. Then, if I can cajole him into doing the work, many times he gets frustrated and gives up or every step of the way is like trying to pull a car uphill.

A tough part of this remains trying to figure out what the factors are that fuel his resistance. I understand some of it -- he gets frustrated that compared to the other students, he knows he isn't on their level. But I haven't been able to tell him that the only way for him to catch up is to work at it.

I've seen people that didn't have great academic skills do well. They got there by effort. At the end of the day today, I was pissed off at him. I understand having trouble, I understand being upset, I understand feeling behind.

I'm not too cool about giving up.

I want to kind of kick his ass a little, honestly. I think he needs a firmer hand. But I'm not really in a position to do that. About the most aggressive thing I can do was a tactic I used first thing this morning, before he dug in his heels. The kids were given whiteboards and were working on copying something from the Smart board. He didn't even try. He instead started doodling and more or less trashed a marker. I asked him to do the work repeatedly. He didn't. So when he put the marker down, I cooly picked it up when he wasn't looking. OK, you're not going to do the assignment. But you're also not going to defiantly do your own thing.


I'm at the halfway point -- 12 days in, 12 to go.

I wonder if I've accomplished anything. Has anything registered? I want to think something has. I hope so. Little victories count. The first two days were tough, and we haven't had anything quite as intense as those. And while today was difficult, at least it wasn't destructive. I guess that's something.

I just wish it were more. I'm not content to just manage this situation. I'd like to find a way to build on what's already been built and take it further.

But at some point he's going to have to work harder or no one's going to be able to reach him. I know it sucks, kid, but you've got to figure it out.

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