STOP, Already!

I’ve got this kid….

Ugh, you guys…

Jimmy is making me insane.  I’m trying to practice compassionate detachment, but it’s just not working; this kid gets me going nearly every day.  He’s been kicked out of class pretty much every day since we got back from vacation, first because he didn’t bother to buy the book we’d agreed – as a class – to read together and subsequently because he’d never read to the assignment.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I took a poll to find out which students had finished the reading (and, no surprise, Jimmy was among those who hadn’t).  Instead of heading for the door (like the other kids who hadn’t finished)*, Jimmy decided he needed to tell me why he didn’t do the assignment… again.

“Jimmy, it doesn’t MATTER to me why you didn’t do it.  You haven’t finished the work, so you need to leave the room.”

“Yes, but I really need to tell you…”

“No, you don’t, because it doesn’t matter to me…”

“But it matters to me.  It will make me feel better to tell you why.”

“Okay, but it will make ME feel worse, you understand that, right?”

“Yes, but I really need to tell you…”

Whatever.  I folded my arms and let the kid tell me his tale of woe; about all the things that he did that were more important than passing his (required to graduate) English class.

When he was finished, I told him that it was a lovely story, but it doesn’t matter.  He’s making excuses, and excuses don’t fly in the real world.  When, I asked him, had he heard ANY of his teachers making excuses for not being prepared for class?  The answer, of course, was never.

“Look,” I told him, “you’re making choices.  You need to understand that this is about your commitment to your responsibilities.  You want to get into a profession that demands professionalism.  Right now, you are not demonstrating any professionalism to any of us – and I KNOW I’m not the only teacher whose class you’re bombing.  I DO NOT CARE why you don’t do the assignments, any more than you care that I have two kids and a husband and a household to run and classes to plan for and bills to pay.  I get my work done because that’s what’s expected of me.  That’s what I expect of you.  Now get your book, go find Ms. Director, and finish the damned reading.”

Here’s the thing; I had a discussion with the counselor and the director about Jimmy this morning, and we’ve come to the realization that we have two choices with him: we can either kick him back and make him do it again (well, not really again, because he’s done nothing the first time, but you know what I mean) or we can boot him and let the real world deal with him (and all three of us agree about the likely outcome of that scenario).  If we kick him back, he’ll have to reapply to CHS, and we unanimously decided that, based on his performance this year, his application will be denied.

Honestly?  I am this close to giving the kid a (barely) passing grade, just so I never have to deal with him ever again.

* just as an aside, one of my other students called me “Moses of the Classroom” the other day.  He’s digging how I part the seas between those who do the work and those who don’t, and he heartily approves of my booting the slackers.  I love it.



Filed under analysis, concerns, critical thinking, dumbassery, failure, frustrations, I can't make this shit up..., I've got this kid...., self-analysis, That's your EXCUSE?!, Yikes!, You're kidding...right?

9 responses to “STOP, Already!

  1. That’s a tough one. I’d hate to put a kid in a bad situation and pretty much set him up for failure like forcing him into the real world would do. I’d also hate to give kids credit for something they never did.

    I’m leaning toward the passing grade myself. Not because I wouldn’t want to deal with him again, but because if you send him into the world it’s not going to be good for him.

    That being said, you know a lot more of his background than me so what you decide to do will have to be a better decision.

    • Gotta disagree with you there, Chris, with all due respect.

      “I’d hate to put a kid in a bad situation and pretty much set him up for failure…” You wouldn’t be setting hi mup for failure. He’s set HIMSELF up for failure. You eap what you sow. Welcome to the real world, kid. Get a cup, cuz it’s about to get nasty.

  2. Jimmy got booted out of class yet again today for being disruptive. He had an appointment to meet the guidance counselor today, and he kept interrupting the class to ask when it was time for him to go. If that weren’t enough, he decided to announce to the class that he was “too lazy” to look up support for a claim he was making about the novel we’re reading.


    • And that would be where I take my above comment and just flush it down the toilet.

      Hey, I did say that I was just going by this one post.

      • Chris, it is awfully hard to judge a kid on one post (or one day, even). This kid is the picture of pain-in-the-ass consistency, though, and he deserves exactly what he’s so clearly asking for.

  3. No compassion here.
    Excuses are like, well aholes.
    I think you know how I feel about this.

    If he has to reapply and is denied that is a consequence. Life is full of that.

  4. “I am this close to giving the kid a (barely) passing grade, just so I never have to deal with him ever again.”

    Don’t you DARE! You’re better teacher than that, and a better person, too. Don’t go looking for the easy thing to do, look for the RIGHT thing to do. The kid deserves to fail, so fail him. If he somehow gets his application approved, tough it out and deal with him again. If his application gets denied, forget he ever existed.

  5. I really love the realism that you bring to the table in this scenario. Way to use yourself as a real-life example and draw a hard line. Either it will be a valuable lesson or it won’t, but nobody can say you didn’t give it your all. (and maybe the lesson will hit on someone else who was listening instead)

  6. So the rest of the story, you guys, is that I walked out of the class with a “REALLY?!” look on my face and was greeted by my coworker, who has 2nd period free and stays in the common area, telling me, “Oh, you got off easy. You just threw him out; you didn’t see what Ms. Counselor had to deal with after that!”

    The ship of this boy’s passing my class sailed a long time ago. If he weren’t a disruption (and, not for nothing, a pain in my ass), I’d be happy to keep him in class in the hopes that SOMETHING would stick to him, regardless of the fact that it wouldn’t be enough to push him over the passing line. The fact that not a single class goes by where I don’t have SOME kind of go-around with this child, combined with the fact that the rest of the class is really starting to tire of his bullshit, made me petition to have him booted for the remainder of the school year.

    I’ll let you know how tomorrow goes.

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