Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I'm in the middle of grading final exams and I need a break. My eyes are weary and the task can be absolutely numbing. I have roughly 1400 pages to grade by hand and I'm half way completed. I have to be finished with the grades entered into the computer by Friday so I'll make it.... but I need a break. That brings me to Maggie. I've known Maggie since birth as she is a member of my congregation and has been at WCS all her life. I taught her brother, her folks are friends of mine, and to top it off, we are neighbors. I have a little change holder she made for me out of clay when she was a small girl. I'm not quite sure where it is but that has more to do with the state of my apartment than the beauty of her pottery skills!
Before finals, we had several days of review in all our classes. My last day to give a regular test was last Wednesday and I used it. I have come to the conclusion that there is never surplus time when teaching and if the parents are paying for it and God is expecting me to use it, I have no excuse for wasting one second. I should have also mentioned that for seven school days previous to last Wednesday, our kids taking AP classes had their end of the year exams for their subjects. Last Tuesday afternoon, Maggie and a number of other students took the three hour AP Human Geography final. That meant she missed the final day of notes and material that would be covered on the next day's test in Bible 1. As I always do, I announced on Wednesday that anyone missing the day before could choose to delay their test and take it with Cindi McLeod who proctors all of our makeup exams but that I always believe they are better off taking it with us as I do a intense review right before I hand out the papers. I also tell them that if they choose to take it on time, I will grade a little less stringently as they are at a distinct disadvantage. I think there were three others besides Maggie in her 6th period class who had the AP exam twenty-four hours previously and all decided to take Test # 11 on Wednesday, which in all honesty, is easier for me. Making sure all tests are taken before finals can be a pain.
I didn't get around to grading the tests until Saturday as finals' reviews took precedence. When I came to Maggie's class and then Maggie's test, I found she had penned her favorite Bible teacher a note at the top of the first page. It read:
I did take the AP Test but don't grade it any easier PLEASE
As a teacher, let me tell you how refreshing Maggie's request was. We live in a world of excuses and whining in academics and sports and you name it. I know there are times and situations where guidelines need to be relaxed and hard and fast rules need to be not so hard and fast. But making exceptions has become the new normal in so many aspects of our lives. Not with Maggie. She didn't want a crutch or a helping hand- she just wanted a chance to succeed on her own with the opportunity to prove to herself that she could excel without lowered expectations and I did exactly as she asked. That in itself is success, my friends. Coming to the realization that you are the one ultimately responsible for your own triumphs and setbacks is a huge mile marker on the highway of maturity and Maggie just moved a little further down that road. I probably should mention one other small detail about this awesome young lady and her test; she made a 100. I'm pretty sure that's Maggie's new normal.
Applicable quote of the day:
“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 8:58 PM