I had a tough day at school today. Meet my students:
Student A: Did not have anything accomplished on his research paper yesterday. Nothing. No sources, no outline, no Works Cited. Amazingly, he came in to class today with a lengthy, complete paper, ready to turn in. Based on this student's track record and academic potential, this seemed suspicious to me--especially since the upper right hand corner of the essay was noticeably torn off. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this student had gotten an essay from a friend in another class, torn off the friend's name, and was attempting to turn it in. When I asked the student if he was sure that he wanted to submit the paper (hint hint), he started shaking, refused to give me the essay, and then refused to let me make a xerox copy of it to verify his sources. Of course, this was all my fault--I am the terrible teacher who dared to notice an attempted case of plagiarism and call a student on it. He informed me that I am "ridiculous" before he stormed out of the room in a huff.
Student B: Has been absent for over a week and has mountains of work to catch up on. However, during today's "work day" in the computer lab, she chose to sit at her computer and fill a Microsoft Word document with 3,000 smiley faces instead of doing anything productive. I did not immediately notice this unwise choice because I was helping 25 other kids who had their hands raised and demanded my attention. When I did notice the document of smileys, I sighed deeply and said, "Oh, Student B, is this really the best thing you could think of to do with your time today?" She just stared at me blankly.
Student C: Approached me after school with a scowl: "Mrs. Nielson, we need to talk about the grade on my essay because I am not happy about it." Oh the entitlement. Oh the demands. How dare you give me a C on a paper?? Well, Student C, the paper was crappy, and you can do better. Why don't you just revise it, as I've given everyone the option to do? But no, that takes work--and my students don't like it when I make them work. And this is a student who I had thought was respectful...I guess that's only when she's getting her way.
I could continue with Student D, Student E, Student F...but there aren't enough letters in the alphabet to capture each of the students with whom I work and each individual situation, problem, and complaint that I deal with on a daily basis. I have 130 students--some of them are wonderful; but many of them are just plain difficult.
I am convinced--utterly convinced--that with the exception of the President of the United States, teachers have the hardest job in the entire world.
Enough whining. Time for bed.
I get to do it all over again tomorrow.