Nate Gets Tested

It’s hard to walk the fine line between helping Nate and helping him too much. His aides are always trying to solicit all the information he keeps inside, but there’s a difference between prompting an answer and telling an answer.

Elise was scolded last year for helping Nate a bit more than should have. No problem there. It’s very hard to watch him struggle when you know for a fact that he knows the test material. Last week we were told that Nate would get a new test reader at SUNY-Cobleskill. Transition is tough for Nate, so we weren’t sure how he’d adapt to a new reader. Elise was in the room for emotional support and physical consistency.

Perhaps having a new reader will help Nate’s independence. That’s a possibility, He may not have too much difficulty with the switch. It’s going to be impossible to know what affects this change will have on his grade. If he does poorly, it could be the new proctor, it could be lack of preparation, it could be difficulty of topic. We’ll see what he gets.

The problem for a new person dealing with Nate is their lack of history. For instance, taking Nate’s first answer to a question is usually pointless. He may answer “Johnny Test,” his favorite cartoon, to a question on biology. Nate’s immediate reaction to any request is “no.” If I took him at face value and allowed that negativity to stand, there’s no way Nate would have accomplished all that he has. There is a finesse to getting the most out of this very intelligent, but very complicated, young man.

After the test, Nate said, “I did mediocre.” Yesterday, he said he got “a 70 or 80 or something.” If he’s right, I’ll be thrilled, less for the grade than for a newfound ability to gauge his own work.

I’ll keep you all posted.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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