Ms. C Battles the Pink Robots
-- Musical interlude courtesy of Oklahoma's favorite non-country bands, the Flaming Lips, (no offense to the All American Rejects or Leon Russell or a host of others)--
Her name is Ms. C,
She's a black belt in karate,
Working for the district
She's decried as being too strict...
We come to the dog days of the semester, dear friends, when one's past inaction comes back to haunt one. Behold the conversation betwixt moi and a young lady I will call "L'enfant avec un enfant." L'enfant was out of class for the last half of first semester having her baby. She then missed part of second semester. Her homebound teacher claimed she completed tons of work to the tune of a 90%, which is about 50% higher than she ever attained when she was in actual attendance in my class, and this with a newborn home, to boot. She has been meeting with a guidance counselor for hours now to figure out how she's going to "get her credits." Counselor had called me, and I told her L'enfant was not passing, but with a good exam grade, she could pull it off.
She is not passing any class. She passed my class first semester due to the miraculous intervention of the homebound instructor. When she came back, her preferred position was trying to see how long her head could stay down before I made her sit up. Four unfinished assignments turned in during that time, and quiz scores in the mid-40s. I saw her after school with her baby, but she did not come to tutoring.
I warned her-- gently, but repeatedly at the time, that I do not give extra credit in place of assigned work, and she would regret those missing assignments and low test grades, but to no avail. If she expected me to "yell" at her so I could be the Bad Guy, she was in the wrong place. She's been working real hard-- for the last 6 weeks. She is not passing now, although she turned it on the last few weeks and has now entered the same star system as a possible passing grade.
L'enfant saunters into my classroom with a smile on her face. "Ms. C, I am here to BEEEEGGGGG!"
Moi: "What in the world are you begging for?"
L'enfant: "I need to pass!"
Moi: "Yes, you certainly do. But isn't the last week of instruction a bit late to be having this realization?"
L'enfant looked at me, a bit taken aback, but wheedled: "Can't I please have some extra credit???"
Moi: "Now, kiddo, I warned you that I don't do that. You're the one who decided to take an extra six weeks off after missing the first two weeks of the semester..."
L'enfant: "But that stuff was BOOOORING..."
Moi: "Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm sure you will never encounter anything else in your life that you need to do-- even if it's boring. And now you want ME to make up something "fun" so that you still don't have to learn the material..."
L'enfant: "You mean, you won't do it????" And her mouth drops open and she walks out the door.
By the way, this entire scenario was played out in front of other students. The only way they could tell I was annoyed was by my narrowed eyes and clenched jaw. And one of my kids brought me a brownie so that I would unclench my jaw-- how they know me!
So whose affrontery galled me more: the counselor, or the student? Unsure, but how dare that counselor send her into my classroom filled with students (and about five others, apparently) to try to manipulate me? And by the way, she can still pass the class-- IF she does well on her final. But that would require work, and would not be a SURE THING-- not like a bunch of ersatz extra credit (which she would do a half-hearted job at, if patterns hold, AND I would have to design it and grade it) to remove the pressure of ever actually demonstrating that she has finally learned the material.
She is behind the 8-ball right now, in more ways than one. The only way she's going to get through life successfully is through development of discipline and a work ethic. And no, I think because she has another person depending upon her, she especially needs to demonstrate some knowledge, not just earn an empty credit.