Monday, February 21, 2011


-Excellent work, Chris. Another outstanding presentation. The diorama, slideshow, and video documentary were all excellent supplements to your relevant, intelligent, and interesting presentation. Your interview with historian James Ford Rhodes was fascinating and shows your passion for the material and extraordinary work ethic that far surpasses any sixth grader I have ever met. The way you presented primary sources to show the shades of gray in the reasons for the war were complicated and enlightening. I learned more about the Civil War during your five minute speech than I did in four years of college. I feel honored to call you a student and wish I could sit in the audience and watch you teach more often. You get a 100.

-Thank you, Mrs. McConell. I’m glad my two months of preparation paid off.

-William, your presentation was barely adequate, at least during the portions when you weren’t vomiting in the trash can and I could comprehend your mumbling. Your ramblings about the Civil War, including your story about General Bilbo Baggins and the part about some sort of talking book, were full of lies. Your research was clearly limited, evident in your one-entry bibliography citing a crayon drawing of Bilbo Baggins in Union attire, which I believed you drew on a soiled napkin from Chili’s. Your presentation was a waste of two minutes and as I watched you scratch your crotch I wondered why I even bother trying to educate some of you monsters and felt my intelligence regress two years. However, you did turn your worksheet in on time, so you get a 92.

-Haaaaaaaang on a second there, Mrs. McConell. Pardon my tone, but I’m a little confused.

-We are out of time, class. I will see you all tomorrow.

-Can we have a little discussion?

-Sure, Chris. But only for a second. I have a budget meeting in five minutes.

-Okay. I’m not complaining here, and I’m happy with my grade, but I can’t help but feel a bit robbed right now. William gets a 92? I just need to know the truth. William is doing something for you, right? Something under the table?


-Surely he’s washing your car? Walking your dog? Bribing you with those lewd drawings he makes during class?

-No, William doesn’t give me anything except stress and doubt. The countless hours I spend preparing interesting presentations and projects for this class are entirely wasted on William. I just have to accept that and focus on students like you who do care. He got the grade because he turned in the worksheet. Sometimes that is good enough.

-You’re not fooling me, Mrs. McConell. Give it to me straight. He gives you some of those free Oreo samples his dad gets at work, right?

-No, William has never given me any free samples.

-Does he help you grade papers?

-No, Chris. I grade papers for two hours every night, and often in the morning before class, by myself. William does not help with anything. Perhaps if I needed a booger he would accommodate me. But he did complete part of the assignment, so he gets credit. Sometimes the warm feeling you get for doing good work is reward enough, okay? A tangible reward for your extra time isn’t always the best prize. Don’t you feel good just knowing that your effort resulted in quality work, regardless of what you get in return?

-This is outrageous. On the next project I’m going to draw a picture of a peanut and turn that in. No matter what the topic is, you’re getting a peanut.

-Remember, it’s not about the reward. Now please excuse me. I have to get to this budget meeting. Apparently the P.E. teachers deserve my salary because standing around outside for seven hours a day and wearing pajamas to work is difficult. This is horseshit.

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