Taxonomy of Students

That probably sounds more scientific than I can back up. But- having spent about 1/3 of my life as a student and another good chunk teaching, I feel like I can at least toss out this little list for some peer review.

Over-achieving Honors Student – characterized by perfectionism, turning in assignments on time or early, keeping test papers until required to turn them in, difficulty dealing with grades below A.

Honors Student – likes very specific directions, which are followed to the letter.  Prefers not to work in groups. Is likely to contact instructor regularly for clarification.

Hardworking Student – pays attention, may not possess the strongest in skills, but makes up for it with hard work. Can be counted on 85-90% of the time to have make a good attempt when called on in class.

Average Student- not stellar, not awful.  Works hard, but is also interested in having fun. May be involved in extra-curriculars and social scene.  A pleasure to teach most days.

Frustrated Student- not naturally gifted, often with undiagnosed disability.  Works hard most of the time, but just can’t get it.  Will avoid answering in class for fear of getting the answer incorrect.  Contacts instructor often for clarity at first, but is afraid of becoming a burden.  May give up at some point and be mistaken for a slacker.

Slacker – Often a gifted student, perhaps a frustrated perfectionist. Prefers to do as little work as possible, Gets by on natural ability most of the time, being careful not to shine too much and draw attention to potential. The rest of the time?  Who cares.

Broad categories, I know.  But pretty accurate and fairly comprehensive.

The other day, though, I realized that I fell into an odd category.  I like to pretend I am a slacker.  But even in the class that I need to “just pass” and get out, I end up way overshooting and earning an A on my first paper.   I think perhaps I am a paradoxical hybrid – the overachieving slacker.


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