Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Doing the Minimum

There are certain classes where I expect bad behavior. Earth science class is one of those.

The problem with these classes is that the students who take this failed 8th grade science. (If they passed, they were enrolled in biology.) Some of them will eventually get it together, take their studies seriously, and graduate. Others I will get to know a whole lot better at the continuation high school.

On top of this, I was warned to keep an eye out for 4th period--the worst class. So, I made sure when 4th period came around that I was moving around the class and watching them a bit more than I normally would.

I made my rounds. I stood in front of groups of students and browbeat them into at least opening their books. Some actually did some work.

I came upon a group who were doing nothing. I did my usual bit. But before I moved on, I caught a snippet of conversation. They were discussing their GPAs.

"I have a 3.3."

He was doing no work. So, he explained.

"I calculated how many points I need to get a B, and I only do that much work."

He told his group that he does well on tests. He was just lazy (his words), and he wasn't interested in doing more than the bare minimum. School wasn't his priority.

(The implication was that there are Things Going on at Home. As he didn't volunteer and it frankly is none of my business, I didn't press the topic.)

It saddens me that he can do so much but chooses to do so little. But I can't make them care. I can only help them if they do.


  1. Sounds like a smart kid. He'll do well on Wall Street someday...do the bare minimum to get himself super rich, leave a few women with babies, pay some hefty child support, and vote Republican.

  2. Ah, welcome to my world - that of the school counselor (middle school) . One thing I find myself reminding kids and parents all the time about is that who you are at 12 or 13 or 18 is not necessarily who you are going to be at 22 or 32 or 42. I know a lot of parents who are so frustrated with their student b/c the kid is doing the bare minimum. It doesn't matter enough to the kid. Perhaps some day it will.

  3. That's sadly true. You can't make them care. Which he probably will next year when he can't understand the things this class was supposed to prepare him for.


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