Wednesday, March 30, 2005

what do you look like?

I have this student. She's somewhat low, not a lot of self-esteem, nice kid. Unfortunately, she's also a real life Cinderella. Her step-sister is in my other class. Same age, same teachers, similar abilities. Except for the sister is allowed to be in Girl Scouts, dance, special science camps, and an other number of special activities. The sister makes good grades and is rewarded. When I send home a Scholastic book order, the sister gets over $20 worth of books and fun stuff courtesy of the grandmother. The sister gets to go on fun Disneyish trips every holiday. She doesn't.

Now, this in itself is unfair, right? I've had a soft spot for this girl all year. She comes to tutoring twice a week and works hard for me. But she never does well on tests or homework. Her parents only call or email me if they want to check to see if she's lying about her homework. Which she never is. She's told me that it's not worth it to try on schoolwork because if she does poorly, they show her how well her sister did and if she does well, they accuse her of cheating.

So a couple weeks ago, I gave a practice TAKS reading test and challenged her to forget about her sister and really give me her best effort so that I could see what she could do. So she worked like a dog on that test for two days. Made an 88%. I made a HUGE hairy mammoth deal. We hugged, we cheered, we high-fived, we went to the principals to brag, etc. I told her I was going to call her parents to brag on her. She freaked out and begged me not to.

I called and got dad. Told dad how great and fabulous she was and how proud we are. Waited. Waited some more. Could hear breathing. Dad said, "Well, that's fine, but we're not going to tell her about the grade. If we praise her any she'll quit working. She's lazy and bad, like her mama. She'll never amount to anything." I was flabbergasted. I asked stiltedly if there was anything I could do at school to help her. His reply? "No, we're real, real happy with y'all. We're actually gonna stop sending her to that tutoring. Y'all are such good teachers and you don't need to waste your time on her. She can do it, she's just lazy." Bahr??

Next day, she asks me if I called her dad. I said yes, that I did, was that okay? Did he tell her how proud he was of her? She shook her head and said, "He wanted to know what you look like."

Erm....huh? Is he a pervert? Is he going to put a hit out on me? What on earth do you think that comment meant???

1 comment:

Dree said...

Parents like that just piss me off. We bend over backwards helping their kids feel successful, and they treat it like it's not big deal. Poor girl. Must be tough to be in her shoes.