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Being Mean

I was disappointed with all the zeros in my grade book — a lot of homework never turned in. So I stood in front of the class and gave them a lecture.

“Don’t ask me, ‘Mister, how can I improve my grade?’” I said, “when you can see as well as I can that you’re missing assignments. Turn in the homework, and your grades will improve. It’s as simple as that. I assign work at most twice a week!”

“And I can promise you,” I added, “that if you don’t do the homework problems, you won’t do well on the quizzes and tests.”

One of the students smirked. I looked at her and cocked my head in a “what” kind of way. Her smirk broadened into a smile, and she slowly shook her head.

“What?” I asked.

“You’re not being mean,” she said.

“I can be mean,” I said. “Let me show you…”

So I walked to the middle of the room and stood still. 

“Listen!” I said loudly. “Do your homework!”

She shook her head. “That’s still not mean.”