I find that I have much in common with “Remedial Prof” https://just5paragraphs.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/future-terrorist since I, also, taught Remedial Reading and English in a local community college. Remedial Prof relates an incident of having failed a student who tried to rely on plagiarized work to fulfill his class requirements. A short time back I posted an incident relating to failing two young men because they did not meet requirements for my class. I believe we “remedial profs” are often struck with the question of how our decisions will influence such students. However, I stand on the side that says they must begin to accept accountability for their poor choices. They often believe they are taking fluff classes that will make no demands on them, especially if they have “good” reasons to play on our guilt since they have language problems, social disabilities, or, in my case, they are good base ball players and no one has ever before made them walk the walk!
I am not without guilt in producing these students. Let me relate two incidents. First: Andy, a fourth grader, was a constant behavior problem. One evening I was ranting about Andy to a friend who asked me, “Have you spanked him?” I responded, “No, I don’t like him enough to spank him.” That was in a time when spanking was quite common in school, but it did require writing up a disciplinary slip, and other red tape that I didn’t want to do, besides I did not like to spank anyone. So Andy continued his acting out. Second: Betsy was a sweet child who tried her best. Her best did not produce quality work, not even acceptable grade level work; however, I gave her A’s and B’s because I wanted to reward her efforts. Alas, Betsy moved to another school. Her new teacher called and asked me about Betsy because she could not do A and B work. I should have been much more up front with Betsy about the quality of her work.
In my defense, I worked hard and had a reputation of being a good teacher. With Betsy I was grading as the school system recommended; with Andy, I basically followed the policy of the school system up to the point of spanking which was falling into disapproval in most of the nation. After I retired from elementary teaching and went to college remedial, I came face up with what the school system including me, was producing.
My stories were from many years ago. I hope things have changed for the better, but I do not see very much to encourage me that they are.