Yesterday, as I was checking on my students' grades, I noticed that a particular student, who I have previously been trying unsuccessfully to motivate, was receiving all F's. This student is a senior and seems to be throwing his future away without realizing it. I know this student is a smart kid. I have seen some of his work in my class and others that was amazing. It is a matter of trying to find the thing to make this young man understand the importance of his actions now. I've been angry before at students regarding motivation. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. Nothing has worked for this student.
Yesterday, I had a different idea. I took out a piece of paper and wrote two questions on it. The first question was "Why are you in school?" and the second question was "What purpose do you want to school to serve for you?" I walked over to him and handed him the paper. He looked at me and then at the paper and asked what it was. I gently said that his future lies on that piece of paper. i asked him to honestly answer the questions on it. Not for me but for him. I then told him that I believed in him. I actually do. This kid is bright and just lacks effort. For the rest of the period he seemed to stare at the paper while class moved on. Today he was in school suspension. I hope he didn't throw away the paper.