As a third period teacher, I had lunchroom duty the period before my class everyday. One day in the lunchroom during Institute, a staff member at F.M. Black Middle School asked H.H. (the one who always puts his head down in my classroom) why he was in summer school.
H.H. replied, “I failed the reading TAKS.”
“What about 5th grade?” the teacher asked. “I failed the reading TAKS.”
“Fourth?” “I failed the reading TAKS.”
I wonder what would I do if every time I tried this one thing I failed….Would I want to give it my all and try again? Would I believe in my own ability to pass? Would I believe someone who tried to tell me that they believed in my ability to pass?
Sienna skin, sleek black hair, and huge, beautiful brown eyes.
Shoulders that shrug and lips that curl up say “I DON’T KNOW.”
On bad days, “I DON’T CARE.”
Even when I say, “I know you know, now please try.”
“I DON’T KNOW.”
I know because he wrote a great narrative on the first day when I gave the writing diagnostic. I know because sometimes he chose to participate. And on those days his notes and assessments or exit slips proved to me that he knows. I know because I know that he is not dumb!
But I know that he has probably seen more academic failure in his short 13 years of life than I have seen in my entire 21 years.
Welcome to the Achievement Gap.
Now fix it.