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Can The Bar Even Be Reached?

Monday night one of my advanced acting students approached me with tears in her eyes. A high school junior, she’s been one of my favorite students for years and I was immediately concerned.

“Miss Jen, I really hate to have to tell you this, but I think I’m going to have to drop your class. I just don’t have time for it right now.”

Stunned, I said, “You don’t have time for it? Does the class meet at a bad time?”

She shook her head “no”. “I can see this is going to be a demanding class and I don’t want to let you down with what you want me to accomplish as far as learning lines and keeping up and not disappointing my scene partner and I just don’t have time to learn the stuff and it’s the only time all week that I look forward to – this class is “me” time – but I don’t think I can do it!”

And it all came pouring out.

This poor girl is in SIX AP classes and her work load is excruciating. She’s at school every day until 4:30 then comes home to hours of homework. Once she left my class at 8 p.m., she went home and was up until nearly 3 a.m. finishing her work for the next day; the night before, she memorized her lines for my class in the shower at 1 o’clock in the morning.

Of course, I cannot make this poor girl feel bad about needing to drop my class. Of course, I understand priorities and all.

But is it possible – just POSSIBLE – that we’re giving our kids too much to do? That our academic expectations are a wee out of line?

I’m just asking.


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