My students face overwhelming odds. They come from other countries seeking refuge from the pain and violence of their past: war, terrorism, hunger, and poverty to name a few. Many arrive as high schoolers. In my state they are expected to pass the same classes and state exams as everyone else in order to graduate. The only assistance they are given is a dictionary and set of earphones for a read-aloud.
Today, we learned that all, repeat all, of the seniors failed their reading test (one of their biggest obstacles to graduation). I can’t tell you how sickened I was. This year was the “new test”. I prefer to call it the…never mind. We knew it was going to be tough, but I had no idea it was going to be this bad.
Normally, I try to leave you with a little uplift at the end of my posts, but tonight I’m asking you to uplift me. Tomorrow, I must walk into that classroom ready to remediate for their second chance. I have to be ready to motivate and inspire. How can I when I don’t even believe in this torture? How can I ask them to keep jumping through burning hoops of shame while legislators and Ivory Tower dwellers watch for entertainment?
I’m sure your words of encouragement will help me find the strength to lift my pom poms again.