Friday, February 15, 2013


            “You can’t make me re-do my math.  My MIP says you can’t.”

            I looked up from my desk to see what was going on across the room.

            MIP?  Minor in Possession?  Has someone been drinking?

            On the other side of the room Mrs. Alvarez was sitting next to Ramon helping him with his math.  Ramon was sulking, and Mrs. Alvarez was looking frustrated.

            “Ramon,” I called out.  “Do you have a question?”

            Ramon looked up at me and huffed, “Mrs. Alvarez says I have to re-do my graph for math.”

            “He’s gotten his variables mixed up,” Mrs. Alvarez explained.  “I’ve been telling him that his graph is going to be completely wrong if he doesn’t switch his sides.”

            “My MIP says she can’t help me with math,” Ramon shot back.

            What is getting into this guy?

            I signaled Mrs. Alvarez to take a break, walked over, and sat down next to Ramon.

            “What do you mean, your MIP says you can’t be helped with math?” I asked.

            “My Mom says I have an MIP for reading.  So why does Mrs. Alvarez say I have to re-do my math.”

            I paused a minute and furrowed my brow.

            “You’re right, Ramon,” I said, “We help you with reading, and reading is what you have goals for.  But the hard thing is, you have to read in all your classes.  Right now you’re working on a big math word problem.  If you don’t read it correctly, you’ll do the math wrong.  Mrs. Alvarez knows that you didn’t read the problem correctly.  She’s just trying to help you.”

            Ramon scowled back with dark, hooded eyes.

            “But I’m good at math.”

            “Yes you are.  But you put your variables in the wrong place on your graph.”  I pointed to his math book.  “’Hours’ is time, and time is an independent variable.  That always goes on the bottom.” 

            I handed Ramon an eraser and he began rubbing out his work.  I walked back to my desk, but turned around halfway.

            “Ramon, you have an IEP, not an MIP.”

            “And it’s for reading,” he snapped.

            I started laughing.  “So let Mrs. Alvarez help you read your math problems correctly.”

            Ramon bent his head down, but I could see he was silently mouthing “Let Mrs. Alvarez help you read.”

            I went back to my grading, but couldn’t help thinking about the ornery side of Ramon that was starting to creep out.

            Let’s hope it’s just an IEP and not someday an MIP!

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