November 8, 2010

What's the Point?

One of the students in my high school proficiency class, a ELL student from Iraq, began questioning the point of the writing exam he will be taking next week. I have a few students who complain, but this particular student usually has a positive attitude.

"This test does not prove anything. What's the point?" he said.

Blah, blah, blah. When they start talking about the hoops they have to jump through, I stop listening. It's the same old stuff.

All the same, I like the kid. It disappointed me that he was wasting time.

"You know what? Welcome to life. There will be a lot of things that seem pointless that you will have to do."

Does that make me a cynic or a realist? I don't know. I work in a system where there is a lot that doesn't make sense. I live in a world where sweatin' the stupid small stuff can suck the joy out of life.

But then...aren't there times when perhaps I've given into complacency simply because it's easier?

Sometimes I wish the kids knew when it was time to question life and when it was time to just suck it up and move on.

Sometimes I wish I knew, too.

3 comments:

OKP said...

Tough call.

The test does prove something; it proves how well he can write at this point in his life. It is an historical record of that one hour in time. It may not be the most revelatory hour of his life, but it matters. I have to believe that it matters somehow. How can he make it matter?

Everything counts.

And yes, sometimes I take the easy route. We are realists and cynics, optimists and nihilists.

I am also, clearly, too tired to make sense!

The Vegas Art Guy said...

It means he can get a diploma and start his life.

I mean seriously...

This is why I teach 9th grade...

Sigh

HappyChyck said...

I think what disappointed me so much is that this particular student is always talking about going to college and how important his education is. He came from Baghdad two years ago, and he has serious aspirations. It's not like him to be negative about school-related things.