Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What About the Good Ones?

In a previous post ("Stupefied"), I wrote about how frustrated I was when only 11 out of 30 students showed up for the first day of their free SAT-prep class. Attendance has been extremely shitty since the program started, with only three students showing up today for the final class. One student enrolled in the SAT prep class - let's call him Antonio - didn't even come to school today. In fact, he would have missed this class had another student not ditched his own 7th period class to drag his ass over here.

Yes, you read correctly up there: drag his ass over here. Antonio lives a whopping four blocks away from school. Yet, for some reason his attendance is absolutely disgusting. He's frequently at home or at a book store reading, researching random shit online or video gaming. Still, this is nothing new for teachers these days, so why am I making this such a big deal? Maybe it's because Antonio is ridiculously intelligent. He is one of the quickest learners I've ever had the pleasure to teach. He has incredible mathematical ability. His memory is unbelievable. He's a strong writer. He can be creative. He's arguably the most intelligent student my school has enrolled this year, period.

So why the hell isn't he coming to school? God dammit. He's had plenty of talks with teachers (including me) and the principal about the consequences of not showing up. I have a few theories - Maybe he doesn't come because he knows he can get by with showing up once in a while, catching up and still passing with a decent grade. Or maybe he knows that he can do jack shit all year, study for a few nights before the Regents Exams and then kill them all with an 80+ because the Regents are a giant fucking joke. He knows he's smart enough to do that, so why not abuse the system and get by doing as little as possible? Or... maybe he's just lazy. Who knows?

I guess I didn't really have a conclusion to this rant. I'm just supremely irritated, but more concerned than anything. Is my school not properly preparing Antonio for the real world by letting him get away with what he's doing? Does he realize that when he starts work, he'll need to show up everyday? Are we so focused on the failures and potential failures that we ignore the brilliant? Or is it not my school's fault at all - could it be an issue he has to deal with and break away from himself?

Too many questions, no answers that I will probably like.

Antonio, if you're reading this: Do something man, you have the potential to change your life. Don't let yourself become another statistic.


Anonymous said...

Trust me, I share your frustrations. My response to these brilliant students: if you're so smart, why don't you get 100 in all of your classes?

What if I start walking out on the boring meetings I have to attend as a teacher?

Of all people, HE should be showing for the SAT Prep!!! Get a 2400 and get a scholarship to college!

Anonymous said...

Agreed - wat a waste. Kids in third world countries would kill for the opportunities he has - even for the teachers he has.