You Know This.

Dylan’s hour with his algebra tutor was practically useless.

After one day at a-pill-and-a-half, Dylan couldn’t sleep. He was awake until almost midnight. When he’s tired, his ADHD symptoms become exaggerated almost to the point of absurdity.

I was going to let him sleep until 7 a.m., but then I remembered that he hadn’t done his English homework (already a week late) so I woke him at 6:45.

To say he was tired after school would be an extreme understatement.

By the time the tutor arrived, Dylan was like a walking blob of jelly. He could hardly keep his head upright. If I hadn’t already known that he was on drugs, I’d have thought he was on drugs.

It took him 15 minutes just to get his algebra packet ready, especially since he had to find a pencil. Pencils have been very elusive lately. Then he sat down and stared out the window.

His tutor sat patiently, trying to engage him.

Then Dylan asked me if he could get a glass of milk.

“Sure, Dylan,” I said, “but it would have been nice if you could have gotten that glass of milk sometime in the past two hours before your tutor arrived.”

He sat down with his milk, singing and humming and tapping his pencil. Ten minutes later, he required another glass of milk. And his responses to his tutor’s simple questions were agonizing.

“Let’s look at this one,” his tutor said calmly.

“Leeeettttttttssssss loooooook at thaaaaaat…” Dylan responded with a sharp drawl.

Or, “Why did you choose that answer?” his tutor asked.

“Ummmmmm…” he said. Then, burbling his voice as if he were underwater, he said, “Because I like this one…..”

His tutor was exceptional. He not only put up with Dylan’s ridiculous behavior, but he kept re-focusing Dylan and they actually got a few things done.

The tutor said, “Which one is your Y intercept?”

“I don’t know,” Dylan said.

The tutor calmly buckled down. “You know this. Which one is your Y intercept?”


“Yes,” the tutor said, as if Dylan had accomplished something.

Then he pushed his luck. “Which one is your slope?” the tutor said.

“Ubbbbb bubbbb blubbbb….” Dylan responded.  “Wowwwww…”

I sat in the other room listening, trying to keep my mouth shut. It was like teaching algebra to a toddler.

Dylan has six days to turn in his review packet. He has to know the material inside-out and backwards, in order to pass the unit test and the final exam.

In order to get a B in the class (which would be rewarded with a new iPad, actually), he needs to get at least a B for the quarter and an A on the exam.

Yet, he spent his valuable tutor time going “bubbbb blubbbbb” and drinking milk.

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