Tuesday, March 14, 2017
One of the first lessons I learned as a teacher is that not everything is cut-and-dried. You have to be consistent without giving up flexibility and mercy when the situation demands them. The following is from August 16, 2006 and centers around one of those scenarios.
We had our first quiz today in my Bible classes. Yesterday, we had a memory assignment but it was easy, the listing of Jacob's sons, and most of the kids made a 100%. Each Monday, when my one hundred and ten students arrive in my classroom, they will find the week's homework listed on the board. For last night, the board read:
After my first eighth grade class, a girl asked to speak to me. She was visibly distraught, fighting back the tears. She was so sorry but she had read the wrong material and had received a zero. She thought the material covered was the first twenty-five pages of the Bible. She confessed she had not finished all that reading because she had other homework but I would guess she may have spent at least two hours trying to complete it. Do you know how long it takes to read the first twenty-five pages of Genesis when you are trying to absorb it for a quiz that is very picky in details? I reassured her that it was going to be all right. The young lady is new to our school and obviously a motivated student. I assumed everyone knew the Bible was divided into chapter and verse- my mistake. I showed her where to find the scripture to be covered in the quiz on Friday, Luke 1:26-56. I also told her I would not record today's grade but would double her grade on Friday's quiz. Since I know she is a conscientious student, I think she will make an A. I walked her to the next class on her schedule and she was in full scale recovery mode. Life is tough for eighth grade girls, especially when you are trying to make your way in a new school.
Evaluating a student's work can be an inaccurate science. If you graded as I normally do on the percentage of correct answers, she would have received the lowest grade of any student in any of my classes who took this quiz. BUT, if you grade on the basis of effort and time spent on the assignment, she would make far and away the best grade of anyone. I feel at least partially responsible; I did not make it crystal clear what I meant and she might have been too shy to ask. Sometimes her plight mirrors our spiritual struggles. We try and battle against sin and like this girl, we fail miserably. That's where the mercy of the Lord comes in. To me, that's the main message of Paul's epistle to Rome. A merciful God overcomes the failures of his children through the blood of his Son, spilled on the cross. I didn't do much by simply giving her another chance but maybe that's all she needed. Sometimes, that's all we all need. I pray this wonderful teenager makes a perfect score on Friday. Maybe it will erase the sting of today.
Applicable quote of the day:
"We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 8:27 PM