I imagine that the kids who consistently received F's felt very differently about it.
The teacher of my senior physics class opened the year by explaining that for the entire first half of the class and the bulk of the second all one needed to know was these three equations. I wrote them down and committed them to memory. The class was a breeze. For me!
The teacher did a few unusual things for my high school. First, he graded on a curve. Second, he handed back tests in rank order. Mine was always the first or second test back; in addition I turned in all my homework. By the end of the semester I was "setting the curve" by a wide margin and everyone knew it. One day after class there was an intervention.
This intervention boiled down to one question. "What are you going to do?" I simply responded with, "Let me talk to the teacher."
So I went to our popular instructor and asked, "Do I really need to take the final?" His surprising response, "That is a good question, let's figure it out." Up came the Grade Book and the what if scenario. If someone else got a perfect score, I would have to receive three percent on the final to keep my A. He then informed me I had to take the test. So back I went to the group of concerned students.
It was not an easy conversation, however we settled on some middle ground. I would not do any preparation for the final. Of course I knew all I needed was the same three equations I had mastered months earlier; however an agreement where you come out the winner is a good one, or so I thought. Somehow I failed to foresee the dilemma ahead of me.
I opened up my test, answered the first three questions, and paused. Should I stop now? Answer a few more, just in case? Take the whole test? I then realized that if I stopped, I would have nothing to do for the next two hours. I decided to take the rest of the test, strictly because it was the most entertaining option available to me. Soon I would sit in judgement.
The first day of the second term our educator saunters to the center of the room, places the stack of finals on his stool and breaks into a long rant. To sum it up, he had expected better of the entire class. Except one! He then grabs the top test and calls my name. It wasn't pretty.
Yells rang out, "You said you wouldn't study!" Everyone around me turned towards me with murderous looks on their faces. Three students from the other side of the room stood and started in my direction. The teacher's wrath was like a judge trying to keep his court in order; however I was far from safe.
Hours later, as I left English, some of the people I had helped the most dumped a metal trash can and it contents over my head. In retrospect they were socially well connected and had probably told others that they would handle it, greatly reducing the level of reprisal. In the end I would learn a lesson that had nothing to do with physics.
If one person shines too brightly, the team tends to fall apart.