Dear High School Student,

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but Ms. James doesn’t necessarily want you to like her.

I know that at seventeen, people’s feelings seem pretty important, and I know that you feel uncomfortable when people don’t like you. However, Ms. James has been teaching long enough that there are probably at least a hundred people in this world who hate her (if not significantly more). Ms. James has looked on – baffled – as a previous student fled from a Taco Bell they both happened to enter. She’s confronted at least one lunatic who had to be removed from the hallways in handcuffs.She’s even been told by more than just you that, “Everyone hates your class!”

And yet, she thinks we should probably spend some more time studying persuasive rhetoric and logical fallacies if you believe such an inaccurate and irrelevant claim will in any way alter her decision-making process. In addition to the obvious errors in such a persuasive technique, you completely misunderstand your audience and the context she resides in. Teachers are among the most hated and disrespected people in this world, so there’s obviously some reason, that has nothing to do with popularity, that keeps her going to work every morning.

So… you can point out how frustrated you are with Ms. James personally, but that does not change the fact that 13 tardies is excessive and will impact your grade. It does not change the fact that you cannot make up work that was due more than a month ago. It also does not in any way change Ms. James’s feelings about you, herself, or her job. She is un-phasable,.

In fact, Ms. James finds your personal feelings towards her to be irrelevant in nearly all of her professional choices throughout the day. Don’t feel sad; she also believes her own feelings are irrelevant to your experience in her class. Thus, she is not angry with you for your tardies or missing work, and indeed, hardly noticed them until the attendance lady called you into the office and gave you mandatory conference period in Ms. James’s room.

Believe it or not, Ms. James’s objectivity towards your feelings and her own is the only factor in this equation that keeps her from docking you an extra point here or there just for spite. It is the only reason you’re barely hanging onto that C-, and the reason she doesn’t favor that geeky kid with glasses in the front row who says that Ms. James is his favorite teacher. So, a word to the wise – do not try convince Ms. James that she has somehow wronged you by doing her job. Not only were you late to the mandatory conference period you were assigned, but your see-through, spaghetti-strap dress is not dress-code appropriate, and you will go to the office to change clothes. Also, once you’ve put your super-senior boobs into an oversized, wrinkled P.E. shirt and returned to Ms. James’s room, you will not be allowed to make up the work you missed a month ago. There is exactly one assignment you can make up, and after Ms. James has helped you with that, there’s nothing else to be done except sit and serve your time. Too bad if you’re bored. If Ms. James cared to put an end to boredom, she certainly wouldn’t have chosen a career in education.

Sorry, but Ms. James will see you in class tomorrow, preferably on-time if you have any hopes of avoiding the mandatory conference period boredom that is a direct result of your lazy attendance. 🙂




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