One has to love parent conferences.
Usually it is only parents with kids with not such bad grades, the other parents often don’t seem to come.
Tonight was a reverse of that.
I have one young man, who though very intelligent and capable, just has more fun cutting class, coming unprepared and kind of showing what a low priority school is. He seems to magically elude any substantial consequence because he is mostly pretty nice and all, if a bit aggravating.
Today in the computer lab he downloaded a pic he probably shouldn’t have been accessing. Our computer lab lady, bless her heart, printed off the pic in question and handed it to me. Yeesh. Her unstated but clear question seemed to be “Are we doing anything about this?”
Well so tonight the conference with Y’s mom starts with me glowing about Y. He is smart, he is capable, he is just a kid. But I didn’t stop there. We looked at the vacant grade, full of opportunity. When he comes, he succeeds, he just doesn’t come. He thinks school isn’t fun, it is more fun to skip. It is more fun to see the teachers reaction when for the 593th time he has no pencil, no paper, no work, no binder, and he leaves all his papers and work on the desk, abandoned at the end of the period as he walks out the door. Y smiled behind his paper while we smiled back at him. The teacher will always give him another chance, because he is never mean. Mom thanked me for seeing the good in her son. For having a charitable eye, for understanding he is just a boy.
I talked about the opportunities for kids with all F’s when school is over. What jobs he might be able to get without college. What colleges he can go to with no high school diploma. Where he might find himself in 5 years. Mom nodded and stared at her boy. Bad boy, whatever will we do.
I talked about what he could achieve if he would stick to it.
And then I talked about the path he was on more seriously and told her about the picture, and what may happen since he has a history of bad attendance, bad grades. Alternative high school? No computer privileges? Where was this path leading him?
She looked shocked, ashamed, but still she smiled at her boy, her only boy, as he smiled back at her, knowing he would get away with it.
She apologized at least 3 times before she got up to leave. She told me she was very ashamed of him. But that seemed to be it.
It has to be the oldest story on the planet.