Starting Line

I once had a situation where the entire football starting line failed my class.  The coach never came to me to see what was wrong.  He went directly to the superintendent to complain that I was obviously doing something wrong.  He didn’t bother to find out that not one of those lovely young men had completed their project that term.  A project that we worked on in class EVERYDAY.  A project that was so super easy that the only way to fail was to not participate.  He had told his players that if they failed any classes they would be riding the bench.  Now he had to bench the entire starting line.

Did the coach ever speak to me directly? No.  But my administration did.  What was wrong in my class?  Why would one project jeopardize the grades so severely? Why didn’t I notify the parents?  I did.  Progress reports had gone out a month earlier and not one parent complained about the low D’s the students had at the time.  The players all knew they were the ones responsible.  They even said so when they were in my class.

What I do know was that when the next progress report came out, not one of those boys was failing.  Each and every one of them had dug in and started working.  The coach resigned after that season.  I did not.  Years later, these young men are grown and starting families of their own.  They are successful members of the community.  I still see some of them every once in a while.  I am very proud of them.

What did I learn from it?  I learned to keep my administration in the loop when I am doing something different in my classroom.  I still do projects.  They are still major parts of the grade.  Now, I make BIG productions out of my projects.  Everyone knows when I have a project due, even the football coach.

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