Student Centered: Realism or Mythology

On this day,
When I learned
My student from Mexico
Can’t understand
English or Spanish
Because his language
Is specific to his foreign locale,
I got lessons
On the spirit of compassion
And the shear ignorance
Of those proper speaking
Critics and politicians
Who wage war on education
Like it’s a controlled experiment
With highly predictable outcomes.

My student has no more chance
On a standardized test
Designed for lifelong speakers of English
Than I do of dunking a basketball.
We might, however, have a chance
In his last three years of school
To help him learn
Enough English
So he can maximize



In whatever direction
He finds for himself.

Maybe the myopic,
Vision of education
In America
Should be broadened
Beyond STEM and
College preparation
Curricula that seem
Not only to be bankrupting
Our country,
But also leaving us with fewer options
When we leave high school
And have no interest
In going on to higher education.

I have to rethink my approach,
Focusing on what this young man needs,


Instead of insisting the content from my health class
Rises to the level of importance of him learning our language
Failing to do so, is the same
Institutional snobbery
That creates policies
Requiring so much testing and
Binders of attendance codes
To track every possible reason
For a student’s absence.

This young man will grow out of school.
We owe it to him to help


Be prepared
To succeed
When he is gone.

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