Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Sad Truth

I have a student who pays very little attention in class. He kind of “does” his homework. He’s absent a lot and never asks about what he missed, it’s always as though those days never happened. He’s a smart kid and he could do better but he doesn’t care and has decided that math is not for him.

He did better when he could play the points game. He could study for tests with his tutor. Then he could do test corrections with his tutor. He could fake his homework (somewhat because I could always tell on homework quizzes that he didn’t really do it). He got by, in fact, he got a B- the first trimester. Now he is failing. He hates the concept quizzes, he says stuff like “I don’t even know what this is.” He’s quit even trying to do homework. He realizes he can’t play the game the old way. so he quit.

He even admitted it to me. He said, “Everything was fine when I could just study for a test and do test corrections. Now that you want me to know it and prove that I can do it, it’s too hard. I don’t like it.”

Well, I don’t like it either. What kind of education is he getting by playing these games? What type of understanding does he have about anything? Yeah, he can study for a test and take it. He can get other people to do his work, but it’s just a game to him. It’s not about the learning.

He’s not going to fail this trimester because I started SBG halfway through and he had enough of those crazy points to pull him up to a C-.

Next trimester, the last one of the year, if he doesn’t change he’s going to fail big and he’s not going to like it and his parents won’t be happy either with all the money they spend on private school and tutors. I told him that it’s not about the points, it’s about what he knows, I want his grade to reflect that.


  1. I get that, too. Just recently, a student was taking her fourth attempt at a standard and she said, "this is so frustrating!" I replied, "Why because I force you to actually demonstrate that you've LEARNED the concept now?" She replies, "YES!"

  2. An update on this kid. Yep, failing big, probably can't pass this tri, parents are upset.