As an instructor, I frequently get to see the best and the worst in people. I see students trying heroically to learn, to change their lives, and to better themselves. The reasons for this vary from simple curiosity all the way to trying to perform complete transformations. Whatever the reasons, school put people in a position where they will either become confident with the idea of their new self, or nervous and scared about trying something unfamiliar.
Some folks miss the point of school… in very big ways. These students are the ones who seem to be oblivious to the fact that they are supposed to be learning. I’ve had a couple of students tell me that they absolutely need to pass, and then demonstrate that they really shouldn’t. It is a rare term when one of my students doesn’t ask me why they didn’t pass the class. They seem genuinely surprised when I tell them that they didn’t do their homework, or didn’t attend class enough… of that they miserably failed each test.
Every once in a while though, I will get one of those students who will just barely pass, even though they really shouldn’t. I know there is talk about “students who slip through the cracks,” but I will say that sometimes you can’t hold them back. These are the students who have an extraordinary talent, that of being able to scrape by the absolute minimum points even though they have little to no comprehension of the subject matter.
One day, I fear I will end up in the emergency room and I recognize one of these students… performing medicine. Mind you for every one of these students, I have 10 more who demonstrate genuine talent and dedication. But those who slip through the cracks… we know who they are. They do not go unnoticed. And they are the reason why I will never stop tweaking my classes and grading scale.
Ah well, maybe they will bomb their final.