Math Survival Guide: How to be a Successful Student 02

:: How to be a Successful Student
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"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
-- Ferdinand Foch

Always attend the first class meeting!


          The first year I was teaching, I did what all teachers do.  If a student

missed the first class, I put a big, fat line through the name and gave the spot

to someone else.  (For college courses, there is always a list of students who

couldn’t get into the course and show up the first day hoping to get added in.) 

As usual, a handful of students weren’t there, so I scratched them off and

replaced them. 


          Well, the second day of class, one of the previously missing students

showed up and still wanted to be in the class.  I gave what I thought was a

firm, “No” at first…  But, I was a pretty new teacher and I let the kid talk me into

letting him stay.  (My “no’s” are MUCH firmer now!)  He said that he was going

to graduate after that semester (this was a four year university) and wouldn’t

be able to graduate without the course.  Newbie mistake… I let myself get

sucked into his story.


          Lesson learned!!  That kid was a royal pain in the caboose the entire

semester!  He had a really bad attitude, was always complaining and was high

maintenance.  Every single class period, I regretted letting him back in.  His

presence funked up the entire tone of the class.  Oh, and three years later –

yes, three years after he was supposed to graduate – I saw him on campus. 

He had lied.  Whap my palm against my forehead, “Doofus, doofus, doofus!”

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