I haven't seen a single member here say they wouldn't write a letter for kids that didn't make straight "A's" in their class. What I have seen are teachers saying they could not, in good conscious, write a letter of recommendation for students that didn't give the effort required for a class or were behavior problems. I think every teacher here can tell if a "C" student is giving their best effort and, if so, they have indicated they would write a letter of recommendation for that student, but would probably focus more on their character traits and work ethics rather than their academic performance. In short, I haven't seen anybody saying they won't write a letter for students based solely on grades, so I'm not sure where you are getting that implication. As for giving students a chance to "turn themselves around", they have had 4 years to do that by the time they ask for the letter. If they haven't shown any cognitive effort of turning their behavior, actions or academics around by then, there is no reason for the teacher to think it is going to magically happen over the summer before they go to college or begin the internship. And sometimes it takes that kick in the pants of NOT getting the recommendation to make the kid finally realize "Hey, maybe it's time I grew up a little bit." Just like the OP did when she asked the student "What would YOU write in the letter?" The student had to admit even (s)he wouldn't be able to write a very good letter based on their actions and attitude in the OP's class. So the student DID learn a valuable lesson about needing to improve their behavior and work ethic. A lesson that will serve them far better in their future endeavors than a letter praising them for attributes they did not posses or exhibit.