I offer you a writing journal entry from one of my stronger students – unedited and in its entirety:
I have finally realized that I am tired of being a good student. I always do my homework and hand it in on time, though everyone else – except one – in my classes does not.
The same teacher always gets mad and punishes us by giving us more work or a quiz, etc. I feel tired of doing all my work how and when I’m supposed to and still getting in trouble for everyone else, just because they don’t do their work. This is college. If the kids don’t want to do the work, fine. Then they are paying to fail. That should be enough punishment.
In case you were wondering, I am not the teacher who gets mad and gives more work. I do get mad – but I get mad here, not in front of them. As a response to her entry, I wrote that she’d spoken my heart in her writing, and that I refuse to accept late work specifically because it undermines the efforts of students who, like her, do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it.
I was heartened to read this journal entry when I did; I’ve been more than a little discouraged lately, and seeing this did quite a bit to help me see that they’re not ALL going down in flames.