Keurig Coffee and a Passing Math Credit

Are two extra credit points really worth all the hype? Do they dramatically boost up one’s grades — probably not. “The first person to retrieve water for the coffee pot will get two extra-credit points.” The students in the Forest Hills Northern High School Personal Finance Class get asked this question several times a week by the teacher, Mr. Johnson. The class is comprised of twenty-two dedicated students and one indolent teacher. How can one be so lazy and irresponsible when teaching a class full of students wanting to learn the importance of managing and financing their money? How can one be not prepared with a lesson plan? Why is morning coffee more important than morning lectures? Some may be blessed with a devoted teacher and a great learning environment; however, some may be unfortunate with a teacher who cares much more about his grey, chipped tablet and morning coffee.

The aroma of the room located in the west hall of the building is of strong, bitter coffee. The teacher’s desk is lined up with unique shapes of different coffee mugs from all over the country. On some, visible brown coffee stains line from the tip of the mug to the bottom. His favorite Western Michigan University coffee mug coaster wears rings of dried up coffee marks. And, the small waste bin placed next to his disorganized desk are filled with a plethora of empty K-cups and empty wrappers of Almond Joy chocolate bars. Occasionally, well, almost every day, the teacher eats a Costco apple-turnover as his “morning snack”. Sometimes the students wonder if he ever becomes sick of always eating the same food every morning. “I’ve been keeping track of how many of those apple turnovers he’s eaten this semester, and so far, he’s eaten forty-six.” Melanie Korraine, a junior who is interested in business finance, mentioned this in a recent group gathering.

For most students, the Personal Finance class is considered a senior math credit. The high school requires a lot of different core classes and electives to successfully complete the high school academic course, and graduate on time. For the majority, the Personal Finance class is an “easy-A” — a class where not much effort needs to be put into. Not because the material is easy, but because assignments can be submitted late and tests/quizzes are online — everyone can easily cheat if they really felt the need to. To the students, a passing grade is their number one priority. However, to the teacher, like mentioned before, the Starbucks Hazelnut Keurig Coffee is his number one priority — every morning! “This class is such an “easy-A” and I love it. Wish there were more classes offered here at the school similar to Personal Finance” states Jack Smizer, a senior who is making use of the class as a final senior math credit.

Because the class is very disorganized, a lot of assignments and grades from tests and quizzes are missing in the school’s grade reporter, Power School. Because of this, a lot of the student’s class grade and overall GPA (grade point average) are lower than what they are supposed to be. So, when it comes to reporting grades to parents, both the student and the student’s guardian are not happy. “I submitted my auto insurance worksheet a while ago, and Mr. Johnson still hasn’t entered in my grade for it. It honestly doesn’t take that long to check the assignment and enter in the grade on Power School” complains another student of Mr. Johnson, Brett Joyce.

When assigned a role as a teacher, one should live up to it and be responsible. Although we can all agree that a “cup of jo” is very exciting, shaping the minds of young students should take precedence, even if it is early in the morning.

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