Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?!

I teach an AP class, for which my students take an AP exam. I told them when they took the exam that they'd get their scores back sometime over the summer. That sometime was apparently today, judging by the number of emails, voicemails, and text messages I got today from kids about their AP scores.

How do my students have my cell phone number, you might be wondering? One of my favorite students, who we'll call Georgia because that's her name, offered to fix something on my cell phone for me. Thinking how nice of her that was, I stupidly agreed. Georgia did fix the something on my cell phone, but she also called her own cell phone from it, thus giving her my number. She promised not to give it out, and even reported deleting it from some of her friends' phones after they stole it from her. But I guess peer pressure has prevailed.

By the way, if you think this knocks Georgia off my list of favorites, you are totally mistaken. I think Georgia could murder someone and I'd still love her.

Anyway, I just retrieved a voicemail from one of my least favorite students, which said

Uh, hey Miss [my last name], this is [least favorite student], I just wanna let you know that I got a 1 on that thing [the AP exam], so uh, thanks for all the great teaching this year. You can call me back if you want, I'll prolly call you later.
You know what, buddy? There was great teaching this year. You were just ordering pizza during it. It probably didn't help that you did a grand total of ten homework assignments over the course of the year, or that you copied your classwork assignments from one of your buddies when you bothered to turn them in at all. Remember how you spent every single class goofing off and then failed almost every test? (And, sidebar, remember how the entire administrative staff had to have a chat about sexual harrassment with you after you wrote "you are my dream woman" and "I'm your daddy" on the papers you'd turned in to me? How do you think they would react to your CALLING me?) You are not exactly a stellar student, which is why, minutes before the AP exam, I took your bet (for an A for the year!) that you'd get above a 2.

So far, this student is the only one I know of who scored a 1. You get a 1 for writing your name on the paper, by the way. I've gotten lots of news of 3s and 4s today, even a few 5s (the highest possible). But you know what? It's the 1 I'll focus on. Instead of sleeping tonight, I'll lie awake thinking about what I could have done to reach this kid, to interest him in the subject, to make things meaningful enough that he would have done his work, to give him some sort of sense of accomplishment, no matter how small. I'll beat myself up for betting him he could score above failing rather than believing in him and encouraging him to do his best. And I don't even like this kid. But it's what teachers do.

And why we get paid so much.

6 comments:

lulu said...

Have a glass of wine and think about the 3s, the 4s and the 5s.

You can't beat yourself up about every kid you don't reach. Well you can, but you'll burn out pretty quickly and not be able to reach any kids at all.

It is obvious that you are a dedicated, motivated and gifted teacher, and I bet that kid knows it. Those are the kids who contact you in 3 years and apologise for being little dickheads.

Megan said...

Thanks. I know you're right, but I still don't know that I'll sleep much tonight. That kid IS pretty stupid though.

noonan said...

That kid should lie awake tonight . . . not you. but, I understand - I'd probably lie awake too. But you do know how incredibly awesome it is that you've been able to get 3s, 4s, and 5s (!) your 1st year doing this! :)

wonderturtle said...

I don't think this kid would settle for anything more than a 1.

Patrick said...

I got a 1 on my AP Calc test.
But I'm an English and Women's Studies major now. Go figure.

Megan said...

I can't believe you got a 1 on ANYTHING, Patrick! Of course, we all know calculus is useless. Unless you're like Stephen Hawking or something.