Given that I recently sent a link to this website to my administrators and other higher-ups, the following post may be unwise.

… but if you’ve read anything else I’ve written, you know that I will take that risk every time, even if falling on my face is likely.

It was either this quote, or one that you'd see in a football coach's office.

I had to choose between this quote or one from the football coach’s office.

In a recent reading, a fellow Twittee and digital colleague lamented that her students appeared to be seeking her help at home, instead of consulting the myriad of resources on the internet, in the study guide, or in the damn book.

In reading that, I (and, I’m sure, many other educators) chuckle, saying to ourselves:

Hurumph. Every year these children get dumber. Why, I had a student once that asked me if we were having a fire drill while the alarm was going off! He works in politics now."

Every year these children get dumber. Why, I had a student once that asked me if we were having a fire drill while the alarm was going off! He works in politics now.

Then, Shauna finished the writing with:

Advice/Criticism is welcome.

On the internet? That’s brave of you.

Dear Shauna,

A piece of this frustrating puzzle that you didn’t mention is the adolescence of our students. Try as we may, we can’t make that puny frontal lobe develop any quicker, so every year, we will have stupefied students sputter, “Wait, we have a test today?”


And every year, we must grind our molars and say, “Yes. Check your planner, we wrote it in there last week.”

We can all relate to your sentiment:

Really, kid? You’re an honors student who can’t use the index in the book? Or the syllabus from August that has the outline w/ chapter references? Or the wiki which has it sectioned off for you? Or the handouts I made that said “CHI-SQUARED (CH 26)” at the top?

I know it helps my mood some to list the litany of things that we have done to prepare the student to tackle this problem without our help. But alas, Adolescents are, by their very nature,


"I totally spent more time on my hair than on homework this week."

Exhibit A

I don’t teach at your school, but I bet that your students ALSO spend their lunch money on Gatorade and Hot Chee-tos.

They also know the names of each member of OneDirection, but don’t know their zip code.

They think that the capital of Montana is Hannah. Every period.

Some of mine even think that Katy Perry was the first American woman in space.

I majored in Youth Ministry and Adolescent Development in college, so it’s probably easier for me to smile when I hear dumb adolescent junk like that. But even I get tired of, “Wait, we had homework last night?”

stupid face

or my favorite: “What are we doing?”

Which is asked immediately after I explain the instructions and say, “go”.

Huh...Ba...*sigh* Ask your neighbor.

Huh…Ba…*sigh* Ask your neighbor.

When we decided to teach teenagers, we agreed to daily wield a double-edged sword: we teach teenagers who have baby-sized, undeveloped brains and grown-up looking bodies. They look like they are adults, but they’re not. Every year, they will be stupid and every year, we have to make them a little smarter.

And only some of that is the math.

So be encouraged–Shauna, parents, and teachers–they were stupid when you got them and they will be slightly less stupid after they leave.

Grinding teeth and rubbing temples along with you,

~Matt Vaudrey

P.S. If you are a student and stumbled on this website, don’t read the previous several paragraphs.