One of the things that special education teachers do is write an annual education plan for each student on their caseload. Part of that plan entails goals that the student will strive to meet (with my help) over the course of the next 12 months so that, maybe, they can get out of special education. This particular student needs to close his gap in reading and reading comprehension. It's the same damn thing. I step back, look at him, what's on his plate, his attitude, his teachers, supports at home...tons of variables and then I come up with something. So and so will improve his/her independent reading to that of 7th grade material. The jump that I settled on for this particular student was right at 2 years growth. I was told (by whom it's not important) that this was an unrealistic goal. That pisses me off. Don't you dare tell me what's realistic and what's not when it's my student that I work with. I've seen hungry students improve by 3 levels in a year. It's rare but...I've seen it. Same thing goes when we talk about post high school careers. I am not a dream crusher and I'll be damned if I'm gonna tell a 9th grader that he/she can't be an architect. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't say, "You know...it's gonna be tough to be a successful architect if you don't like to draw and constantly lose your materials." That's ok. For me, I might as well just laugh and point instead of saying "You can't".
Back on point. Heather read what I had typed and I believe her first response was, "Wow." We talked about it. It's not gonna be easy at all. I've seen stranger things happen. It's gonna take a ton of dedication, discipline, and probably more importantly, an unbelievable amount of mental toughness/desire. I think I can do it. I stared at the sentence I typed for several hours before closing the laptop and heading to the gym. It really wasn't a joke.