This morning, I dread that one student who looks me in the eye and says, “I just don’t care.” He’s required to take this class to graduate, and so far nothing interests him. Not even short stories. Not even poems. Not even semicolons. He actually responds to a question I have about a story with, “I really just don’t care.”
You could hear a piece of chalk drop from my hand and roll back towards the chalkboard.
It happens every semester. Some students just don’t care. And I can’t make them. I can just showcase the wonder of the subject matter and pray that they connect.
And I can bring donuts. This is my secret weapon.
So this morning, I burst into the classroom bearing treats. It’s going to be a great class. I’m going to inspire! I’m going to make that student fall in love with poetry! I’m going to fight apathy!
And that student doesn’t show up to class. I deflate and wilt at my desk.
My secret weapon mission fails.
I’ll try again on Friday. I’ll have a new strategy that might involve Starbucks.
Whatever it takes to get students enthused, I have to try. There’s so much to experience; there’s so much to learn and do. I can’t handle apathy because I’ve lived in that land. It’s a partial death.
Generating enthusiasm means I continue the pursuit of that one person who doesn’t care. With indifference, lack of emotion, and lack of concern ruling the day, nobody moves. Nothing changes. We ignore others and lose the passion in our own lives. I can’t go back there. And I’m going to drag students, family members, neighbors, and friends with me back toward the light.
If I have to tempt you with treats, I will.
Living with flair means we fight apathy with whatever weapon we can.