Bound To Failure

It is a little after 11:30 in the late Thursday morning of February 8th, and I have just had a fantastic breakthrough with one of my students… or I should say that it is the student that has had the breakthrough. He has mastered a specific arithmetic operation, scoring 100% accuracy on two different tests – a dramatic improvement from the initial assessment test I administered to him, where he scored around 25%.

The student is not terribly intellectually impaired, only ill-educated – and, with the system being what it is, he has been shuffled along from one teacher and/or grade level to the next… bringing him to a point where he reads on roughly a third-grade level and has comparable skills in mathematics, but has the social functioning of any other typical teenager. This contrast causes him no shortage of internal turmoil and personal shame, manifesting itself in certain antisocial behaviors.

I have gathered that the general approach to him, by other teachers, is to offer him the opportunity to participate in certain activities without making it a requirement (so as not to pressure him) and by not so much telling where he has made a mistake as much as supplying him with the correct answer. An approach, I feel, has crippled this poor boy in a far worse manner than that of his physiology – and an approach that I have not followed at any point in my procedure with this student.

His is a case that is emblematic of others I have encountered in my experiences – not only that of children but also of adult students. That just as much as there is the danger of expecting too much from one`s pupils, one can hamper their understanding by not expecting enough of them – that they are stagnant in the entropy of miseducation and just flat out poor methodology.

…but before I get too emotionally contortioned in patting myself on the back (for something that I consider nothing more than de rigueur for a Teacher), let me remember just how far this student has to go before being reckoned “normal” by even the lax standards of modern education.

Let me tarry no further in these ramblings, but return to task with vim and vigor.


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