Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 21 2011

You have to earn a ‘F’

One of the most heart warming moments I have had this year with a student took place out on bus duty this past Tuesday. It involves 2 students who I will first briefly describe.

Student 1- Jack- Jack is a quiet student who is respectful and kind. He helps those around him, even when he dosen’t necessairily understand. He raises his hand, never speaks back and is an overall wonderfully behaved student. Unfortunately Jack is not the best academic student. He trys very hard and puts forth his best effort, but it only ends up as d’s and c’s on his tests and other grades. But to earn these grades he is working his tail off.

Student 2- Drew- Drew is a horror in the classroom. He has a tendency to steal markers and pens from my desk as well as a love of making inappropriate gestures behind my back. Drew could easily be a b student in my room, however, he never does any work and tends to talk during tests resulting in a zero. Thus he has an F average in my room.

Flash forward to this past Tuesday: After a long day (starting with Drew dancing behind my back during 2nd period), I am told that I am to go to bus duty in the afternoon. Bus duty is a horrible invention. You have to stand outside for an excrutiatingly long 40 minutes after school to watch the students get on their buses. About half way through duty, students are getting a bit rowdy. I am watching this all unfold with very little desire to calm them down when I get a light tap on the shoulder. I turn around and its Jack who has tapped me. “Excuse me Ms. H, but can you tell Drew something.” I turn around and ask whats going on and Drew says “You gave me an F”. Jack says, “You aren’t given grades. We earn them”. Drew counters with “I do my best and you put an F on my report card”, Jack replies as he starts walking towards his bus “If you try harder and don’t play , you’ll earn a good grade”

After this comment by Jack, Drew stayed silent for most of the remainder of the bus loading process. I was happy that regardless of what my students might remember about mitosis in 10 years, they will hopefully remember that you earn your grades, just as you earn everything else. Nothing is given to you. 12 year olds can be so right sometimes.

One Response

  1. Jane

    That is a lesson well learned.

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a Teach For America teacher’s blog

Mississippi Delta
Middle School

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