It’s that time of the semester when the grades have been posted and I have time to reflect on what I’ll do differently next semester. Please stay with me while I rant for just a minute.
A few days ago I opened an email that seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It’s comments, behaviors, and actions such as this that make me want to throw in the pencil and take up my ticket for office to somehow “be the change I’d like to see” (which office I don’t know yet).
Sadly, too many students fail to take responsibility for their actions, and we see it the most at the end of the semester when they finally start caring about their grade. Why? I’ll let you make your own assumptions for a spell, but let me tell you a little story and you’ll hear my theory in the process.
When I was just a young pup I was fortunate that I could tie a goat very quickly. This ability paid for all of my tuition and fees for my Bachelor’s Degree in Education. What living and boarding expenses weren’t covered by my scholarships were thankfully and gratefully covered by the Bank of Mom and Dad. I felt an acute sense of responsibility to do well in school, because I knew I had been given an opportunity and I wasn’t going to waste it. Therefore, this is my norm. This is what I expect of my students. I was naively unaware of some students’ lack of ambition or educational goals until I became a college level mathematics instructor.
So…back to the email I mentioned previously. This is one of many excuses I’ve heard in recent weeks. Ask any teacher, at any level, and the excuses students come up with are really quite clever. I am a compassionate person however, so I tend to give the student the benefit of the doubt…at least the first – and usually the second – time around, because let’s face it, sometimes life happens. However, like I said, this was the straw…
Student email at 7:30 Sunday night (the semester ends Monday):
“I have been having computer problems for awhile now and I haven’t taken the final and im behind what should I do”
Those that know me, know that my major form of communication is sarcasm, so I tend to write out my emails and then I have to delete them, because, let’s face it, they’re funny, but just not appropriate. However, with this one, I am wishing I would have given a little more reflection before I responded, because I have thought about it a lot lately, and this is what I’d say:
“What should you do?! Cry! You should CRY! Then, when you’ve finished crying you should apologize to the person that paid for this class…be it yourself; your coach; your parents; or the government and then apologize to the teacher who gave you a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chance and finally apologize to yourself…because most importantly you let yourself down and you’re letting your opportunity slip away.”
OK. I’m done for now. Thanks for listening. My quote of the day,
“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”