How do teachers feel about the lack of effort?


Dropping all pretense and prejudice, I commiserate with Senioritis. Though I cannot condone it.

School sucks. I could write a 10,000 word rant on everything wrong with the school system on every level, from fiscal to physiological. We all agree that it sucks, and with college locked down we can finally kick back and enjoy the ride to the end. All we have to do is not fail.

But there is more that goes into school than just the students.

The end of the year normally sees a great clash between the students and teachers. As we seniors prepare for independence, we lash back harder against authority than ever. As we finally breathe a sigh of relief after ten plus years of hard grading, any attempt to push on seems futile. What more could we learn? What more could this matter?

This is why I empathize with senioritis. I definitely feel it. It’s real and it’s great to relax. However, it’s a dangerous game.

Mr. Weinheimer, when asked about his feelings on senioritis. “Senioritis is an excuse for laziness. I have no empathy. I get tired too, but I push through. Be a man. Better yet, be an Elder Man. Altiora,” said Weinheimer.

In fact, some teachers will deny its validity even as a term. Mr. Weinheimer again claims, “My classes try to convince me that Senioritis is real, and I tell them that unicorns are real too, and they fart fairy dust.”

Some teachers feel differently.

Mr. Rogers, Elder’s head of Journalism and graphic design, believes it is real, “Of course. It’s happening earlier and earlier. Empathy, sure. I was a teenager once…I certainly understand that once your’re accepted to college, the motivation is not there.”

Dr. Hageman, professor at Thomas More and Elder’s dual credit Environmental Science and Anatomy of the Human teacher, has “seen it like crazy” as professor. However, he treats his seniors like they are college freshmen. “It’s real, and it has to be battled by faculty at all times,” he asserted.

All teachers have their own method of trying to combat extensive senioritis. From making the classes more interesting to trying to ease up on the students as a reward, teachers all go through different thought processes.

“I do see instances of people caring less and less as the school year goes on; it becomes more difficult with each issue of The Purple Quill to get enough cooperation to fill the pages,” complains Rogers.

Meanwhile, Mr. Weinheimer, is confident in his control of the situation.

“After the Reds Opening Day game, I look forward to spring evenings sitting on my deck reading or rereading novels that I am teaching or grading essays. Yes, the essays are the same ones that my students complain about writing, but I assign them anyway. The essays build character, and I fight senioritis with a heavy dose of reading and writing. It builds character […] I get tired too, but I push through.

Mr. Rogers offers his own wisdom on the matter. “There are times in your life when you won’t be motivated, so you need to find a way to get yourself to keep learning.”

And Dr. Hageman thought of a great metaphor for the situation, “Think of it from the perspective of a sport. Are you going to put in no effort and lose the last few games of a season?  If a student has straight A’s, maybe they could coast a bit; if you’re 50 points ahead in a game you can coast, but realistically you still want to at least finish the game strong.”

But none of this is surprising. It’s what we expect teachers to say.

School, in its fundamental form is about getting high numbers on a slip of paper to show to your parents, your college, and the world at large. The big flaw in senioritis is that those numbers have no meaning anymore. If the numbers on paper, or any of their bonuses, ever had an effect on you, that effect is gone. With no motivation, what else can seniors do other than sit back?

But there is more to school than numbers on paper. Teachers are here too.

I know that you knew that, but it’s something to think about. Teachers, you would think, would have the priorities that most adults have, money, paychecks, and more numbers on paper. Now this may shock you, but someone with the education of most teachers could make a lot bigger numbers on a lot better paper doing something else.

I think senioritis can be an important reflective time for us. Next year we have to pay for our own classes and living expenses (at least most of us do). It could be a great benefit to try and self-motivate. It’s idyllic, but this time is the perfect point in our lives to find something else besides numbers on paper to work for.

Progressivism aside, let’s talk about empathy. Picture yourself in a desk and think, “Would I want to teach that?” Most people would say no. Some say yes. That counts for something.

Teachers, for the most part, do seem to take a genuine interest in imparting information to us. I’m sure most teachers would agree that in an ideal world they only have to teach people who are interested in the material, and they wouldn’t ever have to give bad grades. Maybe not even grades at all.

Teachers dedicate themselves to a subject and to a school for your benefit, even if they don’t just hand out good grades. Even a teacher that seems cruel or harsh or unbearable, they had to make a conscious decision to teach.

By the time the end of the year rolls around, everyone is tired. It’s fine to be tired. But if teachers are still trying, then so can we. At least a little.

Call me a teacher’s pet—even though those of you who know me know I’m not—but I’m just trying to preach a little empathy. Give the teachers a little respect. Put in some work. I’m a student, I know we’re all tired. You can wind down without giving up.




Altiora, Elder.