This entry is not exactly timely, but I think it's still worth sharing.
When you begin a new school year in August the teacher is going what feels like one hundred miles an hour. You're a freaking performer. You are an entertainer, disciplinarian, friend and sometimes foe. You facilitate conversations, deliver lessons, provide examples, share your wisdom, ask questions, exhibit respect, and so on... then around November, you begin to realize that this is totally working!
The students--ok, most of the students--are responding to this whole thing. They are learning. Following your procedures. Those who don't follow the protocols you've established are put in their place by fellow classmates.
You're giddy with success.
Then we hit the end of the semester.
The wheels fall of a little as those idiots who have been sucking the marrow of your joy everyday come to you and ask:
Student: Hey Miss
Me: (Um I have a name, Fuckface. I've memorized yours and 159 others this year alone) We haven't seen you lately. Is everything ok?
.... (nothing) How can I help you?
Student: "Uh, like, what can I do to pass?"
This is an interesting "conversation" to have with some students. Now, with most of the kids who are riding the border between passing and failing, I can actually respond normally and with a potentially successful outcome. With the kid who has missed more days than he's attended, and an average in the single digits, I have my own special response. It goes as follows:
Me: Ok, so here's what I want you to do. First, go home and get ALLLL the tools you can find. Set them out. You with me?
Student: Uh, ok.
Me: Then I want you to start to build something really special. I want you to build a time machine.
Student: (blankly staring at you and probably already thinking about video games, pot or porn)
Me: Then, hop into your time machine. Set it back to the beginning of the school year, and then do EVERYTHING I TOLD YOU TO DO from day one. How does that sound?
Student: (begins to smile a little. Then realizing that he's fucked, just stares. Then sometimes...) So, like, there's no bonus?
Me: No, honey. There is no bonus.