Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Sympathy Tank is Running Low....

Part 1

We have a student at our school who shows up rather infrequently. She lives with a boyfriend and has no other family here, having followed said boyfriend from some distant state. When she does show up, she chooses a corner computer and puts her head down immediately, often sleeping through two or three class changes. Sometimes when she returns from an absence of several days, she wants to "talk to someone about my absences." The only talk I'm really interested in is seeing her make some progress on her courses. Oh yeah, that.

She showed up this morning and appeared to be ticked off that our math teacher wasn't there. (I'm sorry, Little Miss Sunshine, that she has breast cancer and has thereby inconvenienced you.) She said, "Well what do I do if I need to talk to a counselor?"

I had several responses for that, but I bit most of them back. We DO have a part-time counselor, and it just so happened today was one of the days she was there. So I directed Little Miss Sunshine to her office. By this time we are too far apart for normal conversation, so she shouts down the hall, "I've been getting clean! And I have an IEP that says I can leave the classroom anytime I want."

First of all, LMS, you do NOT have an IEP, because those are reserved for students being served by special education. You MAY (but probably don't) have a 504 Plan, a document that allows schools to make accommodations based upon medical conditions. I'm pretty sure drug addiction isn't one of those conditions, but that's not my area of expertise.

Second of all, why make this kind of announcement down the hallway of a high school? There weren't THAT many students present yet, but still. It's like she wanted me to pat her on the head, congratulate her, tell her I'm proud of her.

And I'm not.

I mean, it's all well and good if she is truly turning herself around, but she's the one who put herself in that position in the first place. But I didn't get the sense it was even genuine. It sounded more like the latest in a long string of excuses for why she hasn't been at school. And I can't speak for everyone else, but I've stopped caring.

I don't mean I've stopped caring about ANY of them. I am there to help, support, teach, counsel, scold, advise, and love all the ones who are there to learn and succeed. I'm not going to spend my waning energies on the ones who have a sense of entitlement and don't want to work for anything. Ours is a self-paced, computer-based learning environment. If you want to put your head down and go to sleep, you can't make progress. You don't make progress, you can't graduate. You don't graduate, I'm not going to feel sorry for you. It isn't like you didn't have opportunities.

Part 2 (I know you were hoping I was only kidding about there being more than one part to this rant.)

A young lady came to me today to ask about senior dues and the deadline and all sorts of other information that I painstakingly typed up and posted on the school website so they could ACCESS IT EASILY. She said she couldn't possibly pay all that money by the end of February. I know where this is coming from, too. The teacher at her home high school who is in charge of graduation came to our school last week, and she told them if there were hardship cases, they should talk to Dr. Bragger and she would relay the information. And I truly believe there are some situations that are actual hardships, and I would willingly buy some of them caps and gowns myself in those cases. This girl, though, stood at my desk with that look of entitlement written all over her face, and her body language clearly said she was waiting for me to jump up and do something to fix her problem. Then she justified herself by saying, "I can't afford that. I have a car payment. And a cell phone bill."

Excuse me? You have a cell phone, but paying for your own cap and gown for your high school graduation is a HARDSHIP?

Correction: My sympathy tank is running on fumes.

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