Saturday, June 8, 2013

...But you can't make him swallow

Evan can't wait until next year, he tells me.
Next  year he can fail me.  If I can fail him then he can fail me.
"I don't fail you," I remind him, " you earn a passing grade, or you don't."

Evan didn't.  
He has this phone problem.  Everyone at school has a phone problem, including many teachers.  Its an addiction.  I worked with one teacher who spent her day on the cell phone updating her Facebook status.  I was the union representative then,  so when the very kind assistant principal handed me a printout of her status - updated hourly, including large chunks of time when she had teaching assignments, I went to speak with her.  I don't remember exactly what I said, but I remember the phrase "theft of services," coming up.  The conversation had two results.  One- I was immediately "defriended" and two- she ate all day long.  She was a size two, most of the students out weighed her by a factor of two.  But being detached from her phone meant she could only get through a day by using her fingers for feeding instead of texting. Its an addiction.

But I digress.   
Evan would love to eat all  day long. I probably wouldn't  even stop him (and he has a considerably larger frame to fill) but he doesn't even have the self restraint of my former coworker.  So many of our days go like this.

Me:  Evan put your cell phone away.
Evan:  I got you miss, (and then Evan does not put his phone away)
Me:  Evan put your cell phone away or I'm calling the dean
Evan:  How come you're always picking on me?

I could go on but the conversation doesn't change much.
And Evan doesn't have a  steep learning curve- not for math, not for cell phones.
When the dean gets called, he gets a five day suspension from school.  (In all fairness  to the school's disciplinary team, Evan is always given the choice of surrendering the phone for one WHOLE day, or being excluded from the daytime school- he could attend the late afternoon session, for 5 days.
Evan will never surrender his phone.

Several weeks ago Evan entered the room with the cell phone out.  (See above for ensuing conversation).   Evan then plugged the cell phone into the outlet. (Imagine the ensuing conversation).
Then the cell phone rang.  I told him if he picked it up I would call the dean and he would be suspended.

Suffice it to say I am a woman of my word.

The governor imposed a teacher evaluation of the New York City Department of Education last week.  Plenty of blogs have done a far better job than I would of illustrating the city teachers' reaction-  here  and here and here are just a few.

Among the many other intricate and confusing aspects is the piece the city requested about including student surveys in the evaluation.  Evan heard the news- and he's happy.  He's going to get his revenge he tells me as I hand out the final.

The surveys will count for five percent of the evaluation.  I have fifty students a semester.  I am generally popular.  I sing, I dance, I give you my cell number and I help you do your final.  So even if Evan gave me the very worst evaluation the most  it would count for is  2% of 5% that would account for .001 % of my evaluation.  And that would assume he wasn't suspended the day the surveys were distributed.  I want to explain  this to Evan, but that's what he wants- to distract me from giving the final. Anyway he wouldn't get the math.

"Do the final"  I tell him.  "I'll show you with what you missed.  You can find me later and I'll help you."

But he doesn't.  I tell the story to the principal.  I remind him of all the students who have "stalked" me over the years looking for that promised help. The ones who squeaked out an eleventh hour passing grade.

But not Evan.
The principal says, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."

Its more like: You can lead horse to water, pour it down its throat, but you can't make him swallow it.

Maybe I should text Evan the lessons to his cell phone.

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