“writing assignments for bad kids…”

Hmmm.  Well, that’s what showed up on my wordpress dashboard yesterday as the search terms that led someone to my site: “writing assignments for bad kids.”  Nothing like promoting the idea that English is torture. 🙂  Give ’em some grammar exercises, too, why don’t ya?!

I have a student this semester who is so far beyond being a bad student that he is a caricature, a cartoon.  Yet, I’m not sure for all that I’d call him a bad kid.  Compulsive liar?  Sure.  Morally repugnant?  That’s a given.  Passive aggressive?  Duh, of course.

But I hadn’t stopped to think maybe he’s just bad to the bone.  I was more thinking that his lack of any sense of personal responsibility for his own learning has led him to get absolutely nothing out of college.  And his lack of work, any writing really of note, is what led to the F on his midterm that I just passed back.

I tend to find that the worst students are the ones who are NOT writing, not doing their work.  So my answer to the person who queried about “writing assignments for bad kids” is to say the problem is not in the assignment but in the student’s work ethic or attitude or study skills, etc.  “Bad kids” or “good” — they all need to write.  Motivating a kid to write, well, if you figure out the answer to that, I’d like to know!  I already discovered long ago that grades rarely motivate struggling students.

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6 Responses

  1. My astronomy teacher used to chuck extra credit wrapped around candy at the head of each person who answered a question right. It worked very well on kids that were harder to motivate because trying to get the candy became a sort of game. Perhaps you need to rattle a candy bag at those with empty paper and see if it’ll get some ink on the page…

  2. What a shame, college is a privilege and he isn’t taking advantage of his most excellent Eng. prof.
    Bad student, bad!

  3. uninvoked: Yeh, I’ve tried the candy thing…. Mixed results. Of course, I can always eat the leftovers!

    Kitty: Yes, he IS bad, isn’t he?! What a waste.

  4. Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  5. Thanks, Kirstie! Glad you came by…

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