October 25, 2010

What's the Point?

I was watching the movie Clueless the other night. It contains a hilarious scene where Cher (Alicia Silverstone) was driving while Josh (Paul Rudd) sat in the passenger seat. She was practicing driving around LA with her learner's permit.

Josh asked, "You want to practice parking?"

Cher responds, "What's the point? Everywhere you go has valet."

LOL. This part cracks me up.

But, it also makes me sad. 

It makes me think of some of my students who avoided learning certain useful skills such as studying, because they often had things done for them or were given way too many second chances. For example, one student would often fail or make D's on his Science tests. He never seemed to be concerned about this. It worried me.

I found out later why. He was always given a another chance to retake the test. Usually, he made a decent grade the second time around.

I remember when we were looking over a study guide for an upcoming Science test. I was getting angry because he was not paying attention and did not seem to care about studying for the test. I asked him why.

He basically told me (well, actually signed to me):

"I don't need to study, I can take the test again later. Then, I'll study."

So, what is the point of him studying for tests? If he fails, he can always retake the same test again.

This is sad, because he was hardly ever given opportunities to practice simple and very useful skills that he needs to learn how to apply to himself. On his own, you can say he was pretty much useless when it came to school.

Isn't this why we teach? To help teach others how to do these skills themselves? How is he supposed to learn if he is constantly being spoiled and babied? I mean he even had study guides for crying out loud! I don't remember ever having any study guides. I made my own study guides and studied on my own.

I don't ever want my students to avoid learning a practical skill such as parallel parking just because "everywhere you go has valet."



  1. That drives me nuts.

    It was suggested my son should get extra time for homework at his IEP meeting last year. No reason was given other that he was deaf. I refused to accept that because he didn't need extra time and it would of allowed him to procrastinate and fall behind.

    Later when he was having trouble in math the teacher wanted to just erase his bad grades. No mention of how he hadn't learned the core content. Turns out the teacher was very hard to interpret for and the language of the concepts was hard to internalize in the written English form. So instead of erasing the grade I had him study the vocab before class. Problem solved.

  2. I have a brother that teaches high school math and his wife teaches math at a jr college and they say it happens all the time. He has a calculus class which is an elective and gets that attitude a lot. The 'I'm not good at math, how can it be this hard when I've always skated by so easily...' and I wonder if some teachers are just sending their kids through without the skills because when they get to college they will most likely drop out when they see the real work needed to stay on top.

    His wife teaches at a jr college and an ITT type, overpriced and consolidated. These are the drop outs who have realized that minimum wage is going to suck for the rest of their lives and wish they had worked harder when it was free and easy.

    Don't let your kids slack off, this is the easy time for them and they need to learn how to be good students now. They need to be treated as if they were on their way to a Phd because why can't they? Even if they go a different route any job will require the ability to have delayed gratification and problem solving.

    -grad student studying education (/rant)

  3. Thanks. I appreciate hearing from those who have experienced this.

    Good luck grad student!

    Haddy2dogs, always good to hear from you. :)


  4. Clearly the kid is bright enough to know how to manipulate the system. He's just lazy and using his inability to hear as a mode to get away with not doing his school work. He seems to know no one cars about his education.

  5. I don't think that it was mainly because no one cared about his education, I honestly think that they did not understand that what they were doing was harming him.

    I wish I could have helped him.


  6. But in the child's eyes, they aren't acting like they care.

  7. True, true. You are right. Otherwise, why would he continue to not care himself?



Keep it civil.