Month: April 2016

How Can He Do the Work if He Doesn’t Recognize the Assignment?

The quarter ends at the end of this week. This was the quarter where Dylan did everything for himself, and my job was to back off and say only positive things.

As we rounded the corner of the home stretch, I forgot my job.

I checked his grades. As usual, he has tons of 100%s and tons of zeros. He had a zero in Spanish – the class he’d just “fixed.” He also had eight zeros in history, five zeros in English, and six zeros in Computer Science, where he’d previously not missed a single assignment!

This usually averages out to “not college material.”

I started going off the deep end. I screamed at Dylan to fix everything over spring break. Quite honestly, he doesn’t know what is missing. I mean, he literally has no idea what the assignments described are.

How can he do the missing work if he doesn’t recognize the assignment?

This, in fact, is the crux of the issue. He always doesn’t know what it is – as if he slept through the class and couldn’t possibly be expected to know what they did.

Dylan doesn’t sleep through class. And he doesn’t do anything else during class (i.e., stare at his cell phone). Instead, his brain just shuts off.


He has two days left to make up everything. I am not holding my breath.

I’ve Been Telling You This the Whole Time!

Dylan stayed after school one day to catch up on his Spanish work. After he was finished, I went to pick him up.

“Before today I had a 73%,” he said. “Guess what it is now?”

“72?” I asked.

“How could it be a 72 if it was 73 and I just went in there today?”

“I have no idea,” I told him. “You didn’t tell me anything.”

“It’s an 84,” Dylan said. “I did everything. There was one assignment that was only worth three points, and I even did that.”

“That’s great!” I said. “Did you talk to your history teacher?”

“No,” he said. “Today was kind of my Spanish day.”


“Yeah. I go in there and I get all this work done and it’s always great when I finish,” he said. “And I think it would be so much easier if I would just do it right away when it’s due, instead of just sitting around and worrying about it.”

There was a pause as my jaw dropped to the floor.

“Don’t judge me,” he said quickly.

“B-b-but… I’ve been telling you this the whole time!” My voice started to squeak. “I don’t know why you don’t learn things when I say them to you.”

“I had to learn it the hard way,” Dylan said. “I learn everything the hard way. Haven’t you figured that out by now?”

I Already Know Everything.

Thanks to the Great Blizzard of ’16, the school has prolonged the third quarter of the school year. Thank God.

This quarter, both boys are having trouble keeping their grades up. They need the extra time to recover.

Shane hasn’t been able to bring up his science grade above a B since the first quarter. One morning, Shane came downstairs and announced that he had three upcoming tests – that day. One of them was in science.

“You didn’t study at all last night!” I said.

“I don’t have to study,” Shane said. “I already know everything there is to know.”

His is 12, after all.

And Shane was serious. And there wasn’t a thing I could do about it, because he was on his way out the door.

And his math grade is similarly screwy – sometimes dipping down into the C and D range. Shane re-takes a lot of math tests, because he makes simple math errors and doesn’t realize it.

“You should go over your answers at the end of the test, before you turn in your paper,” I advised. I mentioned it several times, explaining that he knew the math – just didn’t always pay close enough attention when he was doing simple calculations. (This is a problem that has always plagued me with math, too.)

Then Shane went and re-took a “D” math test at lunchtime.

“Did you go back over your answers this time?” I asked hopefully.

“No,” Shane said. “There were only four questions.”

“If there were only four questions, then it’s even more important. If you only miss one question, your grade drops to a C,” I told him. Then I droned on and on and on about the importance of going back over his work.

He probably didn’t hear one word I said.

I am not really all that helpful.


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