Hey John,

Today, I’m annoyed, my usual MO during June where the headaches abound with little relief until 2:20pm on June 26th (Our last day).

Today, students started to get really worried about graduation. Of course, the same questions come in a flurry:

  • What sorts of interventions did you do for the child?
  • How many times did you call home?
  • How many progress reports did you leave?
  • Did you ever arrange a meeting with their parents? And was that successful?
  • Do you have records of the things they’ve done throughout the year?

When my answers are “a lot!”, “too many,” “once a month,” “yes, but to no avail,” and “absolutely,” it only frustrates me further. On the shallow end, you want to blame the child. All the times you had to speak to them, cajole them, raise your voice at them, give them extensions on assignments due weeks ago, and advocated for them when others didn’t give them a chance, you expect that they’d return these gestures in kind with their best effort.

With one or two cases, that doesn’t happen, and they feel like the most extreme cases.

Their absences weren’t insignificant, the lack of work is made more obvious by everyone else’s full portfolios, the same trends happen across their subjects, and just getting them into class almost doesn’t feel worth it. That hurts. We have an ideal for trying to get every child to graduate and succeed in high school with an eye on college.

Situations with our students only happens because our schools aren’t structured to handle the ones who slip through the fault lines through which earthquakes form.

Of course, my school has a protocol for handling students who ask me, “Am I going to summer school?” Despite my cautionary tales throughout the year, I can honestly say I don’t know. I have a say, but so does the state, the city, my principal, and the other teachers I work with. But, before I go to “shared” responsibility, I often blame myself.

This cycle continues ad nauseum. Until we develop schools to handle my kids who waited 160 school days to ask whether they’re going to summer school, in my most frustrated thoughts, I can only say, “I told you so …”

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