You Can’t Fix It In Two Days

Once, there was this guy.

He taught high school, and he was at least passing average at it.

And for months he told his students that grades are cumulative, and that work left til the last minute would become unmanageable and impossible to finish on time and would make everybody’s life harder.

But as everybody knows, students of high school age have already learned everything they need to know about the world, and furthermore, they’re not interested in the half-baked school or life advice of a guy twice their age, thank you very much.

Then, when the last day of the semester drew near (as it inevitably does — time is insatiable and all that), the students realized that their grades were not what they wanted. And the time of the great panic began, as it does every year, and as it will every year without end, amen. The teacher’s door was beset in the wee hours of the morning by the very same students who had scorned him just a few short months ago. The teacher’s inbox was inundated with e-mails asking for details on that one project, um, I think it was on Antigone? The teacher’s phone rang non-stop as parents, suddenly realizing that their children might not pass and might not graduate and might therefore live in the basement forever, became infected with the panic as well; calling to beg, to plead, to cajole and to appeal to the goodness in the teacher’s heart.

Unfortunately, there was no goodness left in the teacher’s heart. It had burnt up like the last log on a Christmas fire, it had blown away like the leaves on an Autumnal wind, it had withered and rotted away like an overripe banana. After the months of banging his head against the wall, trying like hell to get the students to take an interest in themselves and their futures and maybe, I don’t know, just maybe, putting the cell phone down for a second, all that was left of the teacher’s good will was a shriveled husk, a sad, blackened, neglected scrap of cardial tissue.

And the cries of student and parent alike fell not upon deaf ears, for the teacher was more than happy to listen to their tales of woe and recount them over a glass of wine with his wife or to blarg about them anonymously on his tiny corner of the internet (being sure to omit all personal details and thus absolve himself of any legal liability, naturally). No, the teacher’s ears were not deaf to their pleas, but his ears were indifferent as the sunrise. For you can no more undo in a few days of frenzied work what you have spent an entire semester building.

Momentum matters.

So has it been for ever. And so, sadly, shall it be for all time.

…And that’s why I haven’t been posting a lot lately. Regular programming will resume when the summer gets here. If the apparent flow of time over the last few weeks is any indication, that should be in approximately three years.

2 thoughts on “You Can’t Fix It In Two Days

  1. I have a high school junior; I feel your pain, though from a slightly different perspective. Getting him to do homework and to even attempt keeping up in his classes is like pushing a very large rock up a steep hill that’s coated in quick sand. Luckily he has until mid-June so we’re ahead of your students if only just a little. Where are you, summer?

    Liked by 1 person

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