We all complain about our weak students--their slacking off during group work; their bizarre inability to comprehend simple directions; their disorganization; their need to tell us how smart they really are, despite appearances; the way they sometimes put their heads down on their desks. Imagine my dismay when I enrolled in summer school and found myself exhibiting most of those behaviors. Returning to the classroom as a student after working as a professor for almost 20 years has changed the way I look at my own students--and has been profoundly humbling for me. Because I was not just a returning student, but a bad student.

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Copyright © 2013 The Chronicle of Higher Education. This article first appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education 60:4 (2013), B16.

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