Preparing for Graduation

26 May

It’s that time of year, again.  It’s graduation time for the high school seniors.  This year, I have one student who is walking across the stage.  You might recall a student who used to inhabit this blog who went by the name of Taz.  Like the cartoon character of that name, he rarely simply walks anywhere.  He is like a tornado the way he moves, which has the potential to be a bit unnerving to people looking for an occasion that is more solemn than cartoonish.  That would be the administrators who are only now getting nervous.  I was nervous from the minute I knew his mother wanted him to walk this year.  So we’re walking the tight rope between allowing him to have his moment on the stage while keeping him from being the proverbial twister in the trailer park.

But he’ll be back.  Unlike his peers, he will be returning for post-graduate studies for 2 more years (he’s already 20).  I wish I could say that we had much more to offer hime than custodial care.  I really wish that was the case.  But NCLB has turned us into an academic factory.  The product is a finished assessment and the raw materials are academic standards, technology and creativity.   Since the general curriculum is aimed at college, that’s where we have to aim, with considerable leeway, of course.  But school resources have been totally diverted from vocational instruction to college prep.

Will any of my students go to college?  with IQ’s in the single digits…what do you think?  Are they going to use the algebra, geography and literature I’ve spent all these years teaching them?  Remember, it’s the law.  So what happens to my students when they graduate?  Where do they go?

I recently stumbled into Lance Strate’s Blog, and he writes a post that addresses this a lot better than I could ever do it.  Go over there and read it.

The exit door from my program leads to only two paths.  One, is a funeral.  I’ve done that one too many times.  The other is a waiting list, which all of my graduates end up on, if they don’t take the first path first.  And with funding drying up all over, the waiting lists are going to just get longer and longer.

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2 Responses to “Preparing for Graduation”

  1. Anonymous May 31, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    Your Blog has been such a lifesaver for me as I trudge through the adult sludge of the job I have come to love with the high school students. I am extremely burnt out and a bit professionally beat up from this current gig, but reading you reminds me of a lot…..and I get grounded again.

    I spend W A Y too much time on managing adults, explaining to adults, and paperwork than I care to address in this blurb to your blog.

    But thanks for your stuff…. By the way, if a parent wants their kid to walk at graduation when they are 18, the kids does not have to exit the system to flounder until 22+?I hate sifting through the mythology of this position but appreciate the feedback. If it weren’t for the students, I’d give it up after just two years and go back to LD resource.

  2. Daniel Dage June 4, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    Yes, this is a VERY tough gig. It’s not something I would have chosen for myself except it chose me first and it keeps on choosing me over, and over again! But I’ll sacve that for a post.

    Thanks so much for your support, readership and commenting on me. Sometimes this blog is a real lifesaver for ME!

    No, when a kid walks (for whatever reason) they are still able to come back until they age out. The student who we got across the stage this year will be coming for two more years. In this case his mother wanted him to walk at the same time as his younger sister, thus saving some amount of hassle for the family. Not sure how his sister felt about that, tho.

    “Mythology” perfectly describes so much of this position!LOL! No one knows what is supposed to happen so we sort of make it up as we go.

    Dan

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