Yesterday I walked around the classroom and collected research papers. When I reached a student who has a low grade in the class, he looked up at me and told me he didn’t write the paper because he didn’t think he could pass anyway.
He just gave up!
He didn’t even attempt the paper.
Although I had discussed his grade with him a little over a week ago and emphasized that it was still possible for him to pass if he did well on the remaining assignments, he didn’t even try.
Of all of the students who exasperate me, I think students who exhibit defeatist attitudes are the most perplexing. Normally, I would analyze the student and try to ascertain why he gave up so easily when most students in the class are still fighting to make the highest grade they can acquire. I didn’t today.
I think I understand part of this student’s problem because a few weeks ago I called the father to discuss his son’s grades. Regardless of what I said, the father responded, “It’s up to him. He has to make the decision to work and pass the class.” I wanted to shake the father and tell him how important it is for him to encourage his son.
I guess when children reach 17 or 18, parents have to back off and make kids stand on their own.
The student will indeed fail since he did not submit a research paper, and next semester he will take a different English course since he has to pass one more English class in order to graduate.
The student just gave up, and I think I am sadder about it than he is.