Easy way doesn't pay

  "Classic Ann Landers" -- Winston-Salem Journal, June 22, 2003
(picture courtesy of

Dear Ann Landers:  I am in my junior year of high school, and I am not doing very well. When I was in the ninth grade, I had a very demanding history teacher whose reputation was well-known:  He assigned killer research papers, tough book reports and loads of outside library work. His tests were murder.

     I complained to my parents, because I didn't want to work that hard. Also, the chemistry between us wasn't the greatest. My parents came to school and had a meeting with the principal. I was taken out of that teacher's class and placed in another class where the kids had very little homework, watched films a lot and never flunked.

     Now, when I look around, I see the students who sweated it out with that tough teacher, and they are doing a lot better than I am. They learned discipline and good study habits.

     I wish that my parents had insisted that I stay in that class and do the work. I still don't like the teacher, but I have to admit that there was no horsing around in his classes. He wasn't trying to win any popularity contests. He did what a teacher is supposed to do. He taught.

     Please tell kids not to take the easy way out. Tough teachers and hard courses may not be a barrel of fun, but they teach you something. -- Too Late Smart, Casper, Wyo.

Dear Casper:  Thanks for a letter I can relate to. When I was in high school, I chose not to take Latin because science was easier. I have regretted it ever since. I also ducked French, and I'm sorry for that, too.