Monday, January 5, 2009

To one student, in particular...

I am a compassionate guy, really. For all that I may appear to be an unfeeling, uncaring hardass, I’m really quite the opposite, and I’ll move heaven and earth to help you if you ask (and often even when you don’t ask).

Here’s the thing, though. If you ask me for help, show some respect for the fact that I’m doing what you asked. It’s not playing fair if you give me attitude when I remind you--at your request--that you need to meet with me about your work (which, it should be noted, you need to complete in order to earn credit in my class).

I’m all about the recognition of responsibility, and the pursuit of Rule #4 of the universe:


Please note that what this rule actually says, and that I said the word “pursuit” above. I do not expect you to be invincible. I do, however, expect that you will do what you can, to the degree you can, and to treat that as an important part of your job in the world. I will encourage you to see all that you are capable of because I’m good at knowing what you’re best is. That’s one of my gifts as an educator. I understand that doing your best is hard work, and that sometimes you don’t achieve perfection. To me, the demonstration of effort is the important thing. If I don’t see that, I will not believe that you’re doing your job.

If you need help in doing your best, say so. I’ll work hard to figure out when you need it, but ultimately I’m not responsible for determining whether you do or not. That’s on you. I am not your parent, and will not impose dicta. YOU must choose to come to ME.

If my teaching is to be of any benefit to you, you have to treat growth as serious work. This does not mean that you should eschew fun or leisure. Both are important components of Stress and Recovery, the principle that athletes use to achieve excellence in their sports (and that I try to use in my own endeavors). It does not mean that you need to do things as I would do them. You are the best judge of how you operate and, although it is also important work to stretch what you know about yourself, you are certainly able to make considered decisions about what you are capable of simply by looking into yourself, beyond your fears, your desires and the unknown, and trusting the truth of what you see, imperfect as it will undoubtedly seem.

Everyone is entitled to check out for a while, and to disengage from things. I said for "a while". You know when you're ready to get back to it, and when you are, be responsible enough to get actually get up off your ass. If you’re truly not up to the tasks presented or required of you, fine, but if you’re being depended on to fulfill a role, you have an obligation to those relying on you to communicate what’s going on. It’s also not fair to leave people wondering what the hell is going on and, if they ask, it’s really inconsiderate simply to hide your head in the sand and ignore them. When you do that to me, I won’t desert you, but I damn sure won’t defend your behavior to anyone.

I hope this clears things up. It’s important you understand where I’m coming from, and why I called you on your behavior like I did.

1 comment:

Mrs. Chili said...

Ooof. Feel better?