Wednesday, April 01, 2009

But I Can't Do It

You have to wonder what kids think and do when no circumstances follow their bad behavior. I had a kid disappear from my class for months, and then show up out of the blue. This was only because I'd discovered he was attending the class of one of my colleagues, where I went and confronted him. And having finally found a working phone number, I summoned his dad up to school.

Dad was very surprised he'd been out of class so long. Dad didn't notice he wasn't doing homework because in any case, junior spends all his time on the computer. I suggested removing the computer until his grades came up. Oh, no, that would be impossible. He'd go out all night somewhere and never come back.

So dad is pretty much convinced that junior has to be indulged, and has to do what he wants when he wants, of there will be consequences. For him, not the kid. That's precisely backwards, but I was somehow unable to get that message across. As a result, this kid, who's managed not to acquire English after four years in the country (something you really have to work at), will probably be able to continue to avoid it.

One of my colleagues had a discussion with a parent who complained about his phone bill--I don't remember how much it was, but it entailed an awful lot of texting. This phone bill indicated the kid was texting when he was in class (or at least when he was supposed to be in class), and other times, like two in the morning on school nights. She suggested they turn off the phone. Oh no, they couldn't possibly do that.

Well, then, why don't they just give it to him at times when he should be using it? Oh, no, he needs the phone.

Kids, though, need supervision. And honestly, if their parents won't provide it now, they're going to have to learn some other way in the future. Maybe it will work out for them. On the other hand, maybe it won't. Personally, with a teenager, I'd err on the side of making them learn now.
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