Teacher Tales: Stupid Things Students Do
Stupid Things Students Do
Last semester, I had some really great students. They were highly motivated and conscientious, hard-working and sincere about their desire to improve their educational experience. However, more than a few times, I was left shaking my head in disbelief at some of the stories they relayed to me. I couldn’t fathom what must have been going on their heads when they did some of the dumb things they did, but then I thought back to my undergrad days, and thought, “Yep, that sounds about right.”
We’ve all been there, days when we don’t want anything more than to remain in our pajamas, watching Jerry Springer and chowing on potato chips. Normally this isn’t a huge problem- once in a while. The problems arise when a student acts like this for weeks on end, and suddenly realizes that attendance is an important portion of the final grade. Another really dumb move more than a few students have shared with me is that they didn’t bother to buy the required textbooks. When I ask them how do they complete the assignments, or prepare for the tests and quizzes, they realize they’ve pulled a bonehead move.
I had one of my students tell me she didn’t go to class for an entire week because she couldn’t convince her part-time employer to change her work schedule, and the manager had scheduled her for day time hours. I asked her what she wanted to do for her full-time occupation, and her answer was, “Not that dead end job, that’s for sure!” I gently reminded her that her full-time job was being a student, and that she needed to advocate for herself.
Originally, I had thought I would like to teach middle school students. The time I spent during my student teaching proved that I am not cut out for middle schoolers. One day, two of the girls in the class approached me as I was walking the class to lunch. “Mr. Keizer,” they said, “Gary is crying!” I stopped the line, and walked back to where Gary was standing, tears streaming down his face, hands vainly trying to cover the steady flow down his cheeks. He looked up at me and sobbed, “Mr. Keizer, I got an eraser stuck up my nose, and can’t get it out!” Apparently, the wedge shaped eraser from the end of his pencil decided to take up residence in his nostril. Eventually, he was able to blow his nose hard enough to dislodge it, but his embarrassment level was off the charts, and remained so for months on end.
While these are just two examples of the nutty ways these kids behave, I think it’s always important to remember one thing- they are still kids. They don’t have the life experiences we adults have, and honestly, I don’t believe that there are too many adults who didn’t do similarly goofy things when we were that age. It’s a part of learning, and something that’s best reserved for the formative school years. I mean, what better place to work out all of the “stupid” than in a place where all of your friends can see exactly what you’ve done? At least most of us can get through it relatively unscathed.