Taking son to school: How’d your grades end up? (Yes, I am that “bad” parent who has kind of put a kabash on checking up on Skyward like some monitoring Terminator checking for signs of human life within the grade book.)

He reports grades. They are more than satisfactory.

I consider this child of mine. Nature? Nurture? I don’t know. I know he is driven, like his father. He is artistic, like both of us. He looks a lot like his father, but with a strong influence of my good looking maternal side (sorry Dad, you are very handsome, but those Irish genes are pretty cute). He has big plans.

While I’m doing the semester grades, I look at the data and see so much more than numbers. I see where a child was suspended for fighting. I see an uncharged laptop, or one left at home (repeatedly). I see worry about parents’ health and financial issues. I see true intelligence but lack of intrinsic motivation. I see struggling learners who want to know more, do more, but get fuzzy about the details, or struggle to simply focus for five minutes because of genuine ADHD or some other masked learning obstacle. I even see drug use and gang activity. Yup. All that is there in the data.

I don’t have all the answers. And that is, well, unnerving. Analyzing this “data” is daunting.

But I will see over the hill to the other side, and ask you all again, my young charges, “what is it you want to do with your one wild and precious life (Mary Oliver), and moreover: how can I help you?”

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