Well, the confession I am about to make would never make this magazine. I have so little in my life that is racy enough for the cover announcements.
If I did, the announcement would read--I was not the most industrious student in the world! Or even in my college.
When I teach students, and interact with them, always at the back of my mind is the strong memory I have of the type of student I was. So, herewith three confessions.
1) I did not excel at all my subjects. When I entered college, I had aspirations of studying to become a physician. Well, I quickly ran into a subject called Chemistry, and knew my aspirations were doomed. I managed a C the first semester, and escaped with a D the second semester. So much for being a physician.
I still have my old grade transcripts, and as I look back over them, even in my eventual major subject--English--I did not always get top grades. In fact, I never made the Dean's list.
I did, however, excel at taking exams, and was exempted from one required course based on an exam. Further, I did very well on Graduate Record Exams (GREs) earning one of the highest grades anyone from my college had earned to that point.
2) I did not always start my papers timely. Perhaps the most egregious example of this tendency occurred when I was in graduate school. I was writing a paper for the seminar on Chaucer and. . .well, I just didn't get started early enough. By the time I had to leave for class, I was still typing the paper. So, I took along my little portable typewriter, and with it balanced on my knees, I kept typing while my girlfriend drove me to class. I scrunched what should have been 4 or 5 pages into one closing page. As a result, I failed the paper and the professor told me to rewrite it. When I did, he gave me a B, and told me in no uncertain terms that the paper would have been an A, had I put the effort into it initially.
3) I did not always read the assignments in advance of class. In fact, the habit was brought crashingly back to my recollection in a most unusual way. After grad school, I returned to my undergraduate alma mater as my first teaching career. Soon after I began teaching, some of my students came to me and said--do you know what Dr. S told us about you? Puzzled, I said--no. Then they said--he said we have to read our assignments; otherwise we won't be able to discuss intelligently in class. In fact, he continued, there is only one student that I had who could discuss intelligently without having read the assignment--Miss C was the only one who could do that (that was me!).
I went to him, my former professor and now colleague, and said--please stop telling my students about my old habits. Now, I find this story hilarious, but at the time I was mortified.
Don't tell the students what I did as a student!