It's been a couple of years, but once again I have a Fred this semester. Fred comes to the first day or two of class and your like "Wow, that's a smart kid." And you're a little excited to have him in your class.
But then you realize that he's one of those students, almost always male for some reason, who are just hell-bent on self-sabotage.
Fred's biggest issues are coming to class and turning in work. He'll sometimes cobble together excuses, but mostly not. He takes the "no late work" policy seriously and doesn't ask for extensions. A gentle "you're missing quite a bit Fred" is met with a sigh of inevitability
Some days, when Fred makes it, he really brings it. He's pretty much always not only done the reading, but thought deeply about it and how it relates to other things he's learned before. The kid's got depth.
But it's just not enough, and Fred either ends up with a last-minute medical withdrawal or just flunks.
I have a belief that the Freds of my class have mental issues they are dealing with - usually depression. Or perhaps they just need to grow up. But in any case, coming to university and flunking class after class seems like a very expensive way to deal with these issues.
Do you have Freds? Have you figured out any way to help them?
Update: Well, shit. It's Thursday (who knew?) and this post does end in a question. I'd hate to miss a Big Thirsty. -- Ben