Thursday, September 1, 2011

Slacker

Not the boy in the blog, but this is what he looks like
Usually in the hall he looks full of energy. He greets most people with high fives or the boy shove that is so popular. I get a "Hey, Mrs. Day." as he strolls into my room. There, he slumps in his desk in the front of the room (his choice) and waits for me to start class. Sometimes I swear his eyes glaze over as I speak. He will participate some days and when he does, he obviously knows what is going on. Some would say he should know what's going on--he's been through this part of speech before.

Head on his desk, eyes semi-closed. It's time to work on an assignment and his book isn't even open. 


I've know this young man since he was a seventh grader, back when I taught junior high. Always a slacker, this is the third time he has been enrolled in speech. Oh, he's never failed it. He just never completes the semester. He moved one year and dropped out the next. So here he sits in my class. A senior, who must pass speech in order to graduate. How will that ever happen?  Many would give up on him now. It's his problem if he doesn't pass.

But

Here's what I learned from a speech last week.  He's working a forty hour week at a local factory. Goes in at 4:00pm and most nights gets off at 2:30am. He does his homework (when he does it) when he gets home because he can't go to sleep right away. He goes to bed about 4:00am. School starts at 8:15am. He usually gets up at 7:30am, quickly showers and dresses and races to school from a small town about eight miles away. No breakfast. 

That's why his eyes glaze over and he wants to sleep in class. 

We talked about him at lunch the other day. One teacher didn't think it was legal for him to work those hours, even if he is 18, since he is still in school. We could probably call and report him to the factory or report the factory, but that won't help anything.  

I think he needs the job and the money. I don't believe there is much support from home. 

But, he also needs to graduate.

So, I've done the best I could. The guidance counselor and I decided that moving him to another class and moving his study hall to first hour might help. With a study hall first hour he could get homework done then. And if he would fall asleep, at least it's study hall and not a class.

They didn't teach me about this in methods class....

Update
I wrote this piece this morning before school. I've since learned that the GO talked to him yesterday and the young man refused to change classes. He thinks it is better to have a morning class because it gets him moving for the day.  Of course, he didn't show up for class this morning...


6 comments:

  1. Thank God he has you, Deb. Too many would have given up on him. It's a sad situation for that young man, but I'm confident that he will have a better chance of making it through because he has you in his corner.

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  2. But if he won't let me help him, I don't know what will happen

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  4. Just saw your update after I posted...That makes me sad. I'm going to ponder on this one and see if I can't come up with something useful...

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  5. What a life this young man leads...it must be so hard. Good for you that you care enough to WANT to help him...could he write about his work life? what he sees/notices/thinks about this area of his life??

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  6. I read this post hours ago and I'm still thinking about it. Breakfast seems to be one problem that you can solve by making sure he gets something to eat before he comes to class - even if it means he comes into class a few minutes late. If there isn't a breakfast program at your school, maybe you can just bring him something, leave it for him at the office or something. Yikes. There has to be some way!
    The lack of sleep and lack of time to do homework are problems you may not be able to solve, though. Obviously he either really needs the job or he really thinks he needs the job. Gosh this is tough. And sad. He sounds like the type of kid who would do well, given the right circumstances.

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