Let me get this straight.
1. I owe you, my student, a good grade even when you don’t turn in your work on time. Or even turn it in at all. I owe you the right to gossip on your electronic device in class whenever you feel it is appropriate. Oh, yeah, it’s also okay to talk during class because what I am saying or teaching isn’t important in the real world and certainly doesn’t apply to you.
2. I owe you perfect attendance when you arrive tardy to class or don’t bother to show up the day before a school holiday. How could I possibly have scheduled a test or quiz on that day? What was I thinking? Isn’t it party time?
3. I owe you my undivided attention on weekends and after hours on electronic communications because your parents practice bullying via email. I owe you sleepless nights before hostile parent conferences in which your parents believe I will lie to them about you and your actions or inaction. I also owe you the migraine episodes that are stress-related because you won’t accept any responsibility for your actions. I think I’ll even take the state-mandated tests for you and save you the trouble.
4. I owe you my kidney stones because I cannot trust you to simply behave yourselves in the hallways as the classes change; I cannot go to the bathroom in peace because my eyes must constantly be focused on you. I owe you copies of my notes, preferential seating (all fourteen of you in one class!), and extra time on assignments.
5. I owe you my out-of-this-world copy quota because you can’t be bothered to keep up with the first three copies I gave you. If I don’t give you that copy with three words filled in on the notes, then I hear about it. LOUDLY.
6. I owe you my bad back and dwindling supplies because you can’t pick up after yourself or bring your own pencils, or notebook paper, or reading material, or homework, or good manners. I have had to pick up used tissues, scrape gum, and toss trash because it was an imposition on your precious time.
7. I owe you all of these things? Hmm. . . I also owe you my bad reputation as “the mean teacher” because I ask you to behave like ladies and gentlemen, and you despise correction of any sort. I guess I will owe some of you three squares and an orange jumpsuit because listening to me tell you right from wrong is nonsense. Why should telling a member of the law enforcement the truth be any different? It’s just too much effort to do the right thing the first time and to be honest when you’ve erred.
I don’t owe you these things. I do what I love and usually love what I do. It is individuals who make poor choices and wreak havoc on the populace who cause the greatest problems. Their narcissistic focus on the short-term eventually catches up with them. I, however, don’t want to see the rotten fruits of their labors. Ciao.