Two True Stories

True Story #1.  I’ve got a student in one of my classes.  She’s got quite a personality, and in the short time I’ve known her I’ve discovered – because she’s told me – that she’s a pot smoker with a criminal record, that she has a penchant for choosing rotten boyfriends, that she has a terrible and dysfunctional family life, and that she’s got “a violent personality.”  I certainly don’t see her as a threat and, in fact, I think that if she can figure some of her crap out, she’ll be a really great person.  She’s not there yet, though, and really, she’s not even close.

The other day, this young lady came to me and mentioned that, after our class is over and we no longer have the teacher-student relationship anymore, she’d be happy to babysit my kids.

True Story #2.  I’ve got another student in a different class who is a terrible slacker.  He admits to waiting until literally the last minute to do his homework and projects, and regularly finds that there are other things that take his attention away from these tasks.  He loudly proclaims that he hates the work required for the course, he’s mentioned on numerous occasions that he “hates” the stories we read, he often either misses class or strolls in late, and he is passing the course by the barest of margins.

Two weeks ago, this kid took me aside and asked me if I’d write a letter of reference for him for a job application.



Filed under dumbassery, student chutzpah, Yikes!

8 responses to “Two True Stories

  1. Darci

    Dear Lord, I have student 2’s triplet siblings in my 8th grade Literacy class. I was asked in a 100 minute block today the following things:

    Why do tchew keep makin us do so much work?
    What’s up Ms McGrath, are you trying to impress someone?
    So if we do this we can watch a movie on Monday.
    This is stupid – I’m not doing it.

    Damn, I love teaching

  2. We are going to hell for sins of this current crop of kids. They are enabled by their parents to feel entitled to EVERYTHING for no price.
    They do not understand consequences because they have never had any

    I want to drop an anvil on my head now

  3. You should say yes to #2 just to see what type of job he’s applying for.

  4. Professor Rob

    This is why I always encourage my students to ask their professors, “Can you write a GOOD reference letter for me?” Plenty of teachers and bosses will write A letter of reference. That doesn’t mean it will be a GOOD reference.

  5. Darci, one of the things I love is when a kid complains in a writing class about all the writing, or in a lit. class about all the reading. I just stare at them and wait while the realization of where they are trickles down to their consciousness.

    TV, here’s yet another reason why I’m glad I don’t work at the high school level; I CAN allow consequences and I CAN fail a kid and I CAN make them retake the class, and I CAN’T answer to Mommy and Daddy, even if they call me. I’ve got FERPA!

    Dingo, I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t matter; any job is going to expect him to, you know, SHOW UP. I can’t even speak to his ability to do that…

    Professor Rob, exactly.

    In one of my (many, many) books, there is a list of the “top eight personal qualities employers seek” ranked from most important, that goes as follows:

    1. Communication skills – written and verbal
    2. Honesty / integrity
    3. Teamwork skills
    4. Strong work ethic
    5. Analytical skills
    6. Flexibility / adaptability
    7. Interpersonal skills
    8. Motivation / initiative

    I showed this list to my student and explained to him that MY integrity means a lot to me. Unless a student can average about an 80 on this list, and unless I can say with only minor qualifications that this student would likely constitute an asset to the company, my recommendation is going to hinder rather than help. I may not come right out and say that I DON’T recommend a student to a position, but I can certainly give a weak recommendation that would give any boss pause to reconsider the applicant.

    When I DO write recommendations, though, they kick proverbial ass.

  6. Were you wearing your “I’m stupid” sign when they asked?

  7. At the Large State U. where I once worked, we were forbidden from writing letters of recommendation of any sort.

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