Dear Terrence,

I don’t know how many times I’m going to say the same thing to your class. It happens about once a quarter, it seems. The “You’re in this ‘non-advanced’ class not because of your intelligence but because of your effort” speech doesn’t seem to motivate everyone consistently for too long, but I feel like it’s something you need to hear, all of you: your lack of effort is the only thing that’s holding you back.

And then the next day, while practicing the Cornell notes system as we went over this quarter’s major project, there you were in the back row, head up, attentive, asking questions, doing your best.

How long will it last? 

I hope for the rest of your life, but that seems naive. I hope it at least lasts long enough to get you through this project. You’re currently passing my class for the first time. Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to have at least one D on your report card in a few weeks rather than the string of F’s you’ve come to identify yourself with? Wouldn’t that be a tremendous improvement, to think of yourself as an all-D student rather than all-F? Wouldn’t all-C be the next step?

How long will it last? Fortunately and unfortunately, that depends more on you than on me.

With hope,
Your Teacher in Room 302


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