Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Passing English

Gary is either staying after school every day working hard to pass his English so that he won't have to go to summer school and miss the big MMA tournament in July, or he is lying through his teeth. Given that he is in danger of failing and that failing would mean summer school which would almost certainly mean no MMA tournament, I suspect that he is being truthful. Whether he is working as hard as he thinks he is is another question.

Gary knows that you can graduate with 44 units. He therefore sees no point at all in taking 45. That most students graduate with 48 to 55 is meaningless. You only need 44, he tells me patiently. He can do that by the end of his junior year.

So he wants to finish early. This means taking senior courses early. This can mostly be done except for Senior English. Summer and night school spots are reserved for people who have failed the first time or are behind for some reason -- you know, like they left to go to rehab. So he is sort of interested in maybe taking an on-line class. I have suggested that if English is the course that he has trouble passing, the adults in his life are unlikely to support taking an on-line version in which he will have no teacher helping him and setting deadlines.

"But it isn't that English is hard for me, it is just that I hate to write papers. I just have a hard time making myself DO it."

And I say, "I know."

And we both look at each, each clearly believing that he or she has just won the argument.

I did eventually get him to understand that the crazy adults in his life believe that self-discipline was essential to completing on-line, self-paced classes.

So maybe he will just go to school part time and work full-time his senior year.

Fine with me.

There is this disconnect though. He wants to get an associates to be some sort of PT tech/assistant. Then he wants to get his bachelors and masters and be a real physical therapist, or maybe go into sports medicine, or something cool like that. Definitely college though. Really wants to go to college.

And he does a really good job of not rolling his eyes when I make totally irrelevant comments about the importance of getting good grades in English (not just passing ones) if you want to go to college. Or perhaps I am mis-interpreting the look. It probably means, "yeah, yeah, I know."


  1. Keeping my fingers crossed that he's telling the truth. Oh and I'm sure that's exactly what the eye rolling means. Uh huh. *wink*

  2. Can he take an online non-self-paced course? As an instructional designer whose job at a university is to help faculty design online courses, I would never recommend a self-paced course for college students. So I certainly wouldn't recommend it for the average high school student. I sure hope there are semester-based ones with fellow students he could take!


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