Some of the better or even best teachers…were shitty, or mediocre, or maybe just average students. You know why they are now amazing teachers? Because they get it. They understand how kids today feel. Today’s average kid is probably not a student who loves to learn. They are reluctant in many of their core classes. Even if they like reading or writing, they are not fans of their English classes.

I, on the other hand, was a great student (if I do say so myself). I had high intrinsic motivation which pushed me to earn good grades. Even if the class was one that bored me or one that was difficult, I still tried my darndest to earn an A. If an A wasn’t possible (because in math and then physics, it wasn’t), then I shot for the highest grade I could get. Thank god for weighted grades at my high school — it helped my GPA immensely. My C’s in my advanced math classes were weighted as B’s. At one point, thanks to weighted grades, I had 4.0+ GPA. It was awesome. I still have that drive, as a grad student, to earn good grades. I think this drive and this desire to earn good grades makes me a teacher who struggles.

As a teacher who was once a good student, I don’t understand, literally, the students who don’t care about grades. I don’t understand the students who don’t put in effort. I don’t understand the kids who question every single thing with “why do we have to do this”. I did my homework because it was expected of me. I read my textbooks because it was expected. I wanted good grades. And because I was that type of student — I honestly don’t kids who aren’t.

This makes my job very hard. And it makes me sad. And discouraged.



Filed under motivation, understanding

3 responses to “Theory

  1. I so know how you feel. I've even said to my students that their attitudes toward school and academic success are extremely foreign to me. I was crushed if I didn't get good grades; like you, I did my assignments, paid attention, and participated in class because it was expected and also because it was what I had to do to be successful. Success was important to me.I guess this makes me a not very good teacher. It probably doesn't help that I also was respectful to teachers because they were adults, which is another concept that seems to have escaped most of my students. It's hard not to feel discouraged.

  2. I feel your pain. I'm sure I'll be the same way once I become a real teacher. It's so depressing how many kids just don't care. It really bothers me how these kids are going to make it in the world as adults. I wish there was a survey out there that shows students attitudes towards school versus how they do as adults/what they grow up to be/successful or not, etc.

  3. One thing I know about the kids who don't show up in my class: they have absolutely no buy in that education will help their lives.This attitude probably comes from what they see at home. If Mom/Dad/Grandmom etc have a job, or money is coming in somehow, who needs school?Also – self-centered "why is this important to ME" attitude is also a real part of their lives. Short sighted, yes.–Madeleine

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