You Failed Me
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Wednesday, December 09, 2015


                As I have grown into an adult, I have had countless responsibilities thrust upon me that I do not want, but as an adult, I have to carry those responsibilities for myself, my wife, and my daughter. I loathe some of these responsibilities, but, I know, as an adult, it is up to me to take care of them. It is not my mother’s responsibility to pay my mortgage, it is not my father’s responsibility to mow my lawn, and it surely is not my brother’s responsibility to make sure my garbage is taken out. I was taught, and expected, to take responsibility for chores at home as a child, and if my responsibilities were not handled, I faced punishment. Not my mother. Not my father. Not my brother. Not my grandmother. No one faced punishment other than me. I am very thankful to my family for teaching me the value of responsibility, and I try to teach this same value to my students at DCAC. We, the staff at DCAC, teach ten values to all of our students, and responsibility is one of those values.

                I have encounters with students on a weekly, if not daily basis, who want to say they are responsible, but they do not want any responsibilities. For example, I gave one of my classes a review for a chapter test on a Thursday and told them we would have this test the following Tuesday. I gave the class the answers to half of the review on Friday and the remaining half on Monday. When Tuesday rolled around, I gave the test and one student raised his hand and said, “Mr. Sapp, you are going to make me fail this test, you didn't give me enough time to study.” I responded, “Did you not study this weekend or last night?” and his reply was “No”, so I asked, “Is it my responsibility to make sure you study for this test and pass, or is it yours?” The response I received shocked me, “You are the teacher, you are supposed to make sure we all pass and get good grades.” This happened in my first year of teaching and has stuck with me. I wish I could say this is the only time a student has said something like this, but the truth is, I have at least one student to say something similar every test I give.

               These students not only project their responsibilities onto the adults around them, they become offended when you ask them about their responsibilities. Most of the students that I work with are 14 years of age or older and casually toss responsibilities aside. This is not a good sign for them or us in the future. It is up to us, teachers and parents, to make sure these students are ready for life and if we allow them to not take responsibility for their actions or inactions, we, adults and students, are failures. We must hold them accountable for their actions and allow them to earn just consequences. We must be merciful and give them what they have earned, not what they want. I have learned the world is not an easy place, and I am sure you have too, so let us prepare our students for just consequence by giving it to them. Let us model responsibility by taking responsibility for teaching them how to be responsible. Let us build a brighter future starting today, with responsibility.


Robert Sapp

DCAC Teacher and Group Leader

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