For four years now, I have taught the "worst" kids in the school. Without fail, I always get assigned to teach the remedial English classes that none of the other teachers want. Some of the honors teachers feel sorry for me--but guess what? I feel sorry for them. Who would you rather teach: funny, relaxed teenage boys who keep me laughing with their crazy comments, or uptight, grade-grubbing AP kids who crowd my desk to whine about every missed point on their last test?
Of course those are gross generalizations. I have some high-achieving kids who are great and some low-achieving kids who are a pain in the butt. But overall, there are some real perks to teaching underachievers:
1) They don't try to cheat on tests because, well, they aren't expecting a super high grade anyway.
2) They don't copy each other's homework because, well, they realize that their classmate is not likely to know the right answer.
3) They don't notice when you lose a pack of their journal responses and quizzes because, well, they don't even remember completing those assignments. (If they even did!)
Yes, it's true...not one of my eleventh grade students has asked about the papers that I lost on my plane trip to Idaho. Not one.
Luckily, it was only about one assessment per class period that disappeared on the plane in Atlanta. So, I simply excused the assignment or gave everyone participation points for completing it, and then I moved on with my life. I am quite proud of myself because, in past years, I would have been freaking out and given myself anxiety attacks over this loss. (Eh hem, I might have been one of those uptight AP kids in a former life.)
Rachel Westover Nielson is learning to relax--maybe my students are rubbing off on me! :)
P.S. I did tell my seniors (because I lost a major essay for them), and they all just reprinted it. I can't believe it, but it was no big deal! (Huge sigh of relief!)