The week before progress reports were due to go home, I gave my students a heads up, and printed out their missing assignments. I said, “Get them in or else.” The “or else” came yesterday. Today at the 5th grade team meeting we found we’d all had pretty much the same conversation with one young man:
One-by-one I called the students to my desk. As I gave each of them their grade report I explained their score, and showed them where I listed how many assignments they’d had, and how many they’d completed. I also provided written details on any missing assignments.
Jet’s report explained that of six assignments, he had completed one, turned one in incomplete, and had four missing papers. Holding the report in his hand, Jet said to me, “Miss, if I take this home, my dad, he will beat me.”
I said, “Last Monday [8 days previous] did I give you a reminder that these assignments were late?”
“And didn’t I tell you that I’d be here every morning and you could come in at 7:30 if you needed any help? Or that you could make an appointment to see me at recess?”
“Yes, but –”
I shook my head. “You made your choice.”
“But — ”
“Did you come in?”
“Did you do any of these assignments?”
I lifted my hands palm up and shrugged my shoulders. “You didn’t even try. ”
“But he’ll beat me.”
“Has he beat you before when you didn’t do your work?”
“So, you knew the consequence before you chose not to do the work?” I shook my head yet again. “I’m thinking those beatings must not be too bad, because you made the choice.”
He didn’t come to school today. Despite the fact that he deliberately chose a known consequence, we are worried about him.