That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him.

Me: “So, if the thesis statement in the introduction says we are going to hear three reasons, what do you think comes after the author has already gone over his or her three reasons?”

Student: “The conclusion?”

Me: “Good, the…”

Another student interrupting: “No! The next reason. The fourth one. He didn’t say it at the beginning so it would be a surprise.”


Tempered Expectations.

Sometimes, it can be perfectly clear where my students get their ideas:


“Hi, this is Mister K from School and I just wanted to let you know that your student currently has a 17% in my class. This is my third time trying to contact you, I left a few messages and a request for a conference but I never heard back from you. Anyway, you will see an “F” on his report card for this grading period because he has rarely done any work at all and has failed all of his tests.”

Parent: “Give him extra credit.”

“I don’t offer extra credit in place of missing assignments in my class. Either way, his current grade is far too low for an extra credit assignment to benefit him at this point.”

Parent: “You say he has a 17%, right? He knows that if he gets a 40 or higher, he gets to pick a video game from the store.”


Notice: Sigh.

“Mister, you’re mean, why did you call my mom?”

“I asked you to return that notice to me signed, and you didn’t, so I had to call to make sure your parents know what was going on with your grade”

“I know, but I told them I had an A in your class and they believed me, now they think I’m failing”

“You are failing.”

“I know, but now they know that.”

“That’s why I called, that’s why I sent the notice in the first place. Your parents need to know about your grades.”

“My mom works at a school, I’m going to get her to change my grade.”

“Is it this school?”