Making Sense

I had the nice experience of working after school with a girl in my class that is pretty learning disabled. She is sweet and is not a behavior issue at all. Working one-on-one with her was great. I think she really started to understand the concepts of weight and mass more. I think she also appreciated the attention since I think she gets little at home. She is so quiet I confess I also lose her in class without realizing it.

Upon reflection I started wondering if it would be possible to get her to stay after more often and give her the extra help she needs. I had a moment of excitement at the thought of her actually passing science! Then reality hit me. Who cares if she passes even the next two term of science. She still failed the first two and will still fail everything else and still most likely be put into life skills next year in the high school and still not go to college and still not get a job and still be on disability most likely and still not live a "normal life." Her skills are limited and that will always affect her. So what's the point of her passing or spending time after school? I truly believe that the system has set her up to fail and that if she had been loved, nurtured, assisted, and given a enriching environment she would not have such a harsh future ahead of her. But the problem is systemic, so there is little I can do. There is a saying around my school that in middle school we hold a lot of kids together and provide the support they need to deal with their s***** lives, but when they go to the high school they fall apart. Why be a part of the cycle that sets them up to fail in high school where there is less support and nurturing?

Then another thought hit me. It sounds cliche, but the time I spend with her will impact her for life and nurture her emotionally, which could help her in the long run even if she falls between the cracks in high school. This sounds like the natural philanthropic conclusion, but it makes sense in her bleak future.

Unfortunately I often have these "epiphanies" but lack the energy to follow through with them. Especially being in grad school. Any yet this is what teaching is about for me...being different and valuing the small things that give me and my students hope for the future.