I offered to let the counselors put Pimp into one of my honors 9th courses.
Clearly, he doesn't meet any of the normal requirements--an "A" average in that subject, high PSAT scores, high other standardized test scores, good work ethic and above-average writing ability. Nevertheless, I think the boy could be pretty darn smart because his humor, besides being school-inappropriate, is flawless. However, his behavior and work ethic is so distracting that there's no way of judging his aptitude.
Due to a scheduling snafu, a counselor placed Pimp into honors American Lit this semester because there wasn't room in any other course. I hear from the teacher that Pimp seemed pretty intimidated by the smart folks. He told me he couldn't goof around in front of "those white folks" because none of them were from his "'hood."
That sounded pretty brilliant to me (to be read like on one of those Guinness commercials--Brilliant!), but the American Lit teacher wasn't having it. Here's where I see both sides and don't know the right answer. I agree that the "integrity" of the honors class should be protected because the extra credit and the rationale for having honors courses is compromised when honors isn't really honors (i.e. kids from other schools who took all honors courses transfer to my school and can hardly cut it in a general level course). On the other hand, putting Pimp in an honors class could be just what he needs to separate him from his element and challenge him. I know the majority of his bad behavior happens because he's bored. Plus, if we're ever going to "close the achievement gap," which is awfully wide at my school, we might need to try some unconventional things. I keep hearing the experts that visit my school talk about how we need to know the individuals who aren't acheiving to their potential and attack the problem at the individual level.
Maybe it wouldn't work. But maybe I wanted to try anyway.
I offered him a place in my honors 9th course. He refused. He was ready to be out of 9th grade courses and into 10th grade courses where he should be. If he couldn't be in honors American Lit, he wanted to be in my general American Lit course.
Then I got to be another teacher that didn't want Pimp. I didn't mind adding him to my honors class of fifteen students as an experiment. I did mind adding him to my full-of-troublemakers-already American Lit class. Pimp is a catalyst. With his added presence, what was once structured and controlled becomes wild and crazy. I would bet that Pimp took approximately 83.75% of my energy last semester, and I'm not ready for that again.
I said no.
Pimp isn't taking English this semester. He'll double up on English next year. And me--add me to the list of teachers who've let Pimp down.