These are my people, my students this year. They’re averaging just a bit above a 1.5 GPA.
I tried to graft a structure onto this post but nothing stuck. Topical bullet points from the failed drafts:
- a description of what happens to the blue students next, of their regrettable slides further leftward and their occasional, triumphant slides rightward.
- tortured musings about correlation and causation. (ie. “if I take some credit for their progress, must I then accept some blame for dot dot dot et cetera.”)
- a description of effective motivators for my blue students, none of which include teacher approval, parent approval, disciplinary consequences, or perfect attendance badges at the end-of-year assembly.
- the economies of scale I can’t seem to access as a part-time teacher, two of which, however tacky the terms may seem in this context, are “word of mouth” and (even tackier) “branding.”
- really, how irresponsible and inaccurate it is to compare one class to the next and yet, wow, that was some group last year, the first and last group for whom I’ll ever take a summer school bullet.
The only draft that mattered was this:
The blue students indulge none of my laziness. They tolerate none of my bad habits. There are all kinds of students at this school â€” gray students, we’ll call them â€” who will let me slide on all kinds of carelessness so long as I keep them moving toward graduation, college, and career.
But graduation, college, and career are all abstractions wrapped in scare quotes to my blue students. So they pummel my flabby pedagogy daily to the point that I’m burger. Lean burger. You can’t believe the gratitude I have for such a challenging year.