The young man was very endearing in his openness and willingness to speak with me. His affect was kind and considerate, and his contemplation over the True/False section of the BASC-2 highlighted one of his greatest roadblocks to academics: he was frozen by the worry he would make a mistake, that I would judge him falsely based on his responses to the personal statements. After a brief conversation we were able to agree that instead of True/False we would look at the statements as Usually/Not Usually. The young man visibly relaxed and was able to complete the rating scale without further hinderance.
Although I only worked with this particular high school student for a brief half hour session, he was the type of client that inspires the desire to ensure that all of the hard work he is putting into his own education is sufficient to see him succeed.
This morning I had an interview scheduled with one of his teachers. The man who entered my office was engaging and gregarious. The question I posed to him was simple and straightforward: “Do you have any academic concerns about this student?” This question allows teachers to answer in a variety of ways. Some choose to harp about homework completion or class participation. Others speak of social issues that are interfering with quality work and attention. This particular teacher gave one of the best answers I have ever received. He explained, with concrete examples, some of the struggles the student was having in his class, and informed me of the supports he was giving the student. Then he said, “I am not worried about his performance in my class. Together [the student] and I will make sure he gets everything he can out of the curriculum. What I want to make sure is communicated to you and to the people assessing him is that he requires assistance in creating structure. Whatever program he chooses to attend following high school ought to be chosen with that in mind.”
It is so wonderful to work with teachers and staff who have the student’s best interests in mind, especially when they can frame it in terms above and beyond their own course.