I am going to admit forthwith that, as a teacher, I have my share of weaknesses (and probably a few other teachers' shares, too). Some of those weaknesses affect my teaching more "behind the scenes" than publicly, so it's easier to hide them. However, one of my major weaknesses is that I have a soft spot for annoying adolescent boys. Seriously, is there anything goofier and funnier and more frustrating all at once than a teenaged boy in that awkward-puppy phase? They are simultaneously very endearing and a living exemplar of why my father says that children should be buried at 13 and dug up again at 21.
Now, the immediate assumption would be that liking one's students is a good thing, but there's a problem with this scenario. As soon as the goofballs figure out that I'm a big ole pushover, they proceed to, well, push me over. And then, because they are Americanae adulescens puer doofensus, their behavior immediately becomes, um, problematic. Take, for example (and I would not miss him), one of my current little doofuses. He haunts my classroom. I look up and he's there. I kick him out and he comes right back, like the fleabag cat you fed that one time and now can't get rid of. I march him out of my room, not to darken my door until the period he's supposed to be in attendance, and he sneaks in through the classroom next door. He distracts the kids who are in their appropriate class period, and when he's in his assigned class, he spends more time trying to avoid work than it would take to, you know, maybe DO the work in the first place. Why does he hang around my room? I don't know. I yell at him contstantly, making such ego-affirming statements as, "Go away! Nobody wants you here," and, "Quit hanging around like a bad smell!" I have multiple gray hairs with this kid's name engraved on them. In short, he drives.me.nuts.
Finally, I cornered this young jackass scholar when he was (once again) in my room during a time period that was not during his assigned class. "Why are you here?" I asked. "I'm not even nice to you! I say all kinds of mean things to you! Why won't you go away??"
"You're the only teacher who likes me," he said (this may well be true). "Besides, I like your class the best. My highest grade is in your class!"
For a split second, I was overtaken by a wave of self-congratulation. Clearly my young charge had sensed my unspoken acceptance of his authentic self, not to mention my innate pedagogical excellence. Then I realized of whence I was speaking, and I thought I'd better do my research. So I looked up his grade.
He has a C-.
So much for that.