Thursday, December 15, 2011

Digging in His Heels

"Ronny" is a senior at my school. Ronny is universally regarded as, on one hand, bright and capable; on the other, as stubborn, strong-willed, and difficult to get to know. As you can imagine, working with Ronny is not an easy task as the seniors wrap up their college applications.

Ronny does not want to go to college. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Four years at an ostensibly college-prep school have not changed his mind. He wants to be an auto mechanic, he says. He has applied to a technical school in New Jersey. He has an uncle in the garage business. That's it, Ronny says. He's done. No college applications and certainly none of this bee-ess paper-writing that his peers are dragging themselves through at the behest of their teachers, anxious to make them college-ready by June.

Ronny's attendance is fairly regular. His teachers say, exhausted from arguing with him, that he simply refuses to write papers. He'll do everything else, he says. And he will. His grades on other assignments are generally decent. But he won't write those papers. He doesn't need to, he says.

The college counselor is confounded by his refusal to apply to even a single CUNY community college. The administration doesn't want him to fail his classes due to his subsequent refusal to write the papers his college-bound peers are writing. Ronny, it seems, doesn't much care about any of this one way or the other. His disagreement, his teachers admit, is largely respectful and not disruptive. He doesn't try to distract other students, or curse his teachers out and storm out of the room like other frustrated students might. But he's digging in his heels on the college applications and the paper-writing. He's. Not. Doing. It. His philosophy on it boils down to, "Who's going to make me?"

Who's right here? I'm asking all of you, the wise audience of NYC Educator, because I seriously don't know.
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