Thursday, March 19, 2009

Great Expectations

Jonathan didn't show up for my test two weeks ago. This wasn't very unusual for him. He'd missed several last semester, and tended to disappear for several days at a time. In fact, when the Regents exam came last January, Jonathan didn't even bother showing up. This may have helped my stats a little, as I did not expect him to pass. After all, while most of my kids were writing till their hands bled, he was off attending to more urgent matters.

Yesterday I had someone who speaks Jonathan's language call his house, and waddya know, he showed up today. He had a good reason for being absent, he said, and he would tell me after class. No need for that, I told him, and invited him into my office, which was directly outside the trailer. Jonathan told me he'd been having family troubles, and that I could ask the teacher who called his house. She'd set me straight. I told Jonathan that, given his track record, I didn't believe him. I also told him it didn't really matter whether or not he was telling the truth. He was out, he did no work, and he was failing.

I did check out his story, though. The teacher told me his stepmom had come home to find Jonathan en flagrante with his girlfriend, at a most inconvenient moment. I'll spare you the details, but alas, Jonathan was grounded forever, at least. He was only allowed out to come to school. So why, then, wasn't he showing up? This surprised the calling teacher, who said things had now taken an entirely new direction.

As I went around checking kids' work, I observed his blank paper and complimented him for making no mistakes. My student teacher, however, spent a good deal of time helping him. She told me what a nice kid he was, which is true actually. Hopefully she's right and I'm wrong. Perhaps tomorrow he'll have actually accomplished something.

I'm not holding my breath, though.
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