All teachers have kids who are special to them and those who coach have players in the same mold. Six years ago, our valedictorian was the lovely Delisa Somoye. Delisa played middle school basketball for me and was crowned Miss Black Teenage Houston several years back in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day. On top of all that, Delisa is one of the finest students I have ever taught.....and I have taught quite a few. We began finished our finals' reviews today and that brought this young lady to mind who I referenced. The following is an entry from after I graded her final in my sophomore Bible class. The date of the first printing was May 23, 2006.
This was Day Two for semester finals at Westbury Christian. Yesterday, we met periods one, four, and seven. Tomorrow's exams are third and sixth periods as well as a time for makeup tests. Today, we tested in second, fifth, and eighth periods. Those slots happen to be my sophomore Life of Christ classes. I teach sixty-five sophomores so I have sixty-five semester tests to correct. I've mentioned that I forgo scan-tron, or electronically graded tests, and use the old fashioned, typed variety. Each exam is eight-and-one-half pages and I need to have them graded, recorded, and sent to be entered into the master Gradequick system by tomorrow afternoon. Assuming I grade one page per thirty seconds, I am looking at four hours of checking for mistakes on this set of papers, let alone an eighth grade exam I will administer in the morning. All this leads me to Delisa Somoye. Delisa is in my fifth period and one of the finest students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. She was the recipient this Spring of the Academic Award for tenth grade Bible. Delisa has taken nineteen tests from me this year, including two final exams. If not mistaken, she has only missed one question COMBINED in all of those tests, two at the most. On all of the numerous memory verses we have written for grades, Delisa has not missed ONE POINT. Why do I mention Delisa? When I am forced to correct large numbers of papers in a short time, I speed through her tests. My assumption is this: she got it right anyway so I can save a few seconds. That gives me more time to be effective in grading the others' efforts. Basically, I don't scrutinize her examinations the way I would a B-C-D student. On their work, I take the position that they probably missed one or multiple questions so I have to be thorough in evaluating what they have put down on paper. I try to be honest with my students. When I told them that I don't grade each test equally, one of the kids replied, "The rich get richer!" He was probably right. However, I would submit the Delisa Somoyes of the academic world have earned that perk because of their diligence and would be upset at themselves for missing an answer, even if I overlooked it. In fifth period today, guess who was the final student of the twenty-two to finish the test? And, guess who, of all the sixty-five kids, was the only one to correctly bring to my attention that I included a question I had deleted on the review? The one and only Delisa Somoye. That is why she is my best student- she is more prepared than anybody else and it is borne out by her grades.
To me, evaluating Delisa a bit more casually is only logical and I believe, totally defensible. However, I am sure I do the same thing in evaluating others in life and I am not quite as comfortable with my stance on that. People I love are more likely to get a free pass on some issues while those who irritate me are held to a more demanding standard. Have you ever heard the adage that "pretty girls can get away with murder?" Substitute favorites or friends for the lovely young ladies and you have my equivalent. As a teacher, you have to be careful to be even-handed in the treatment of kids but the truth is, every teacher has students they would rather deal with than others. In the overwhelming majority of circumstances, it is based on behavior. Youngsters that are good citizens are just easier to like. It is interesting that Jesus was often very tough on those in his inner circle, particularly Peter. It might have been easy for him to rationalize the shortcomings of his dearest friends...but he didn't. There have been times when I felt that my superiors in school settings would not get on me if I needed it because they liked me. I am glad I might be lovable, but we all stand in need of correction at times. What do I predict Delisa made on her grade? I am in a gambling mood so, going out on a limb, I will venture to say.... 100%! I will let you know. In the meantime, if I get on your nerves, just pretend you love me and give me the Delisa treatment!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Good tests killed flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again."
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