One of the things I love most about teaching is seeing students succeed. One of the things I hate most about teaching is seeing students fail -- especially when they are their own worst enemy.
We are in final exam week and the penitent sinners are coming out of the woodwork. Never mind that emails have been sent, warning letters, and personal conversations have been completed. Never mind that the grades are online and are viewable at any time, day or night. Exam week is when that F becomes real and students begin to dread getting asked by their parents, "How'd you do?"
A few years ago I had a remarkable young man. Micah laid out. He missed tests. He came to class and slept. He was completely uninvolved. So, at mid-term it was obvious he was going to fail. There was no rescuing him. We had a little conversation that went a long the lines of, "drop the class; but if you want to prove to yourself that you can change, keep coming, take the tests, and show yourself that you can do it even if you don't earn a grade."
He never missed another class or assignment.
He retook the class and earned an A.
He transferred to Virginia Tech on a full scholarship and will be an accountant in May.
I am proud of him. I love him.
So, today, when I answer those emails of "Please, Ms. H, I HAVE to pass this class", I am remembering my little friend who nearly fell through the cracks. Tough love is tough. But it works.
Have I told you that I love teaching?