I have a couple of students who impersonate this young man on a regular basis. Although they are not biological siblings, I like to think of them as Augustus and Julius. They bear no resemblance to these historical figures, but it confuses them when I call them by their Peachy-assigned aliases.
They share a philosophy which has been honed and perfected over several years of schooling. The LETHARGY FOREVER school of thought centers around the ever-present conflict between exerting a milli-iota of effort vs. screw-it-and-go comatose-until-the-current-task-is-done-and-I-will-now-never-understand-it-so-again-screw-it-and-go-comatose.
Beautifully circular. The slightly more awake version involves waiting until the teacher goes over the answer with the whole class, at which point they copy it. But that is usually a little bit too taxing for the Caesar boys.
LETHARGY FOREVER is resistant to the most engaging dog and pony show that I may devise. I have determined that this is because I will never shoot a spitball or an eraser at them. I do not crawl on the floor, putting small items into my hoodie pocket, then transform into a human question mark when called out on this slightly suspicious behavior. Oh, the shining halos I can summon above Julius and Augustus’ guilty little heads, just by telling them to knock it off. This is not to say that the thought of lofting a pen across the classroom (as an engagement strategy) has not crossed my mind from time to time. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that I have broken into the Hallelujah Chorus on occasion when a LETHARGY FOREVER devotee volunteers an intelligent response in a discussion, not because I feel they are incapable, but because they are usually so dedicated to being incapable.
Today I insisted that these two captains of industry continue to work on the assignment, of which they had so artfully completed exactly .5%. This statistic means that they had successfully written their names, and, in one case, transformed the bullets on the page into actual physical holes by which to guide their intellectual journey through the darkness. The other students in class were working on posters.
I was working with a small group of non-English speakers, attempting to get them to say and write the word “tree.”
The Caesars were pissed. I helped each of them, periodically returning to each to find that they had added nothing since my previous help session. In the end, they were both directed to complete it as homework, in addition to the other homework that they will not do tonight. If one of them actually returns the thing, I may draw a star on his hand. To freak them out more than anything.
It’s the simple things.