My honors freshman class is probably what "regular" freshmen looked like about fifteen years ago. They are good kids. They remember their homework, they get right to work when told to do so, they discuss, they listen, they follow the rules, they know when to laugh at my stupid jokes.
But they don't seem too "honored," if you know what I mean. They're good, but not terribly bright. In fact, I probably have only two kids in this class who I would consider to be well above average. The rest are--average.
Does this mean that if a student in high school is someone who can do the aforementioned things should be a head above the rest? What would happen if they were in regular English? Would they become tainted or would the others rise above to reach that level of what we used to consider as average?
That average student entering high school now refuses to listen, refuses to comply with adult authority, refuses to complete homework assignments, and there are a few who plain ol' refuse to do any work in the classroom. I wrote up a kid today who for the fourth week in a row, forgot his English notebook, refused to get out materials to work and was content to just be a seat-warmer. I refused to let him go through one more day of painful non-learning. I told him he needed to speak to someone else about it because this wasn't working out. I had tried the me-counseling route, the psychologist-depression route, the calling-Mom route. Obviously those didn't work. Plan D. Don't know if it'll change anything, but at least I know I'm doing everything that I can to make sure he succeeds. Too bad he doesn't have that in him to do that himself. I did warn him last classtime that if he didn't have his English notebook put together that I would send him to his administrator. After that class, I found a partially torn up 3-ring notebook under his desk. I had called his mother shortly after that discovery. She had bought him a 3-ring notebook, she said. I told her that he's not bringing it. When he came to class today, I asked him to get out his English notebook (as I asked the rest of the class, as well, but he had a personal invitation). He said he didn't have it. That he must have forgotten it. I told him that was a sad situation.
The others seemed a bit surprised that I wrote up someone who was being quiet. I think they hav the impression that if they're just quiet, that they'll be okay. Mrs. Catlin likes things quiet. But here she was, writing up someone who hadn't said a word. What was this??
So--I think any of one my regular kids can attain "honors" status in today's public high school. But what is so honored about doing what should be done to be a decent human being?