Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Masterpiece

Day 2 of finals are in the books for the Fall Semester of 2015. I actually enjoy finals' week which is actually only four days. I am blessed- the Bible exams are on Monday so I have the rest of the week to grade them and sometimes it takes that long. Several years ago, we added another testing day and made a significant change. Instead of testing by period, we began testing by subject matter. For example, at 8 AM Monday, all the English finals were given and at 10:30, every student took their semester Bible exam. The instructors by department stay in the office during the two hour time frame to handle the inevitable questions that arise. I usually handle a couple of inquiries each semester and they tend to be of the typo variety. My computer constantly makes mistakes!

Yesterday, about half way through the testing period, I was summoned to Room 257. David Patterson, our vocal music director, was proctoring. He let me in and directed me to Tre, a student in my third period Gospels class. A junior, Tre came to WCS as a freshman and has shown tremendous growth academically and athletically- he's a solid football player for our Wildcat squad which is looking for a breakout season next year. As I came to Tre's desk, he did not ask about the wording of a question or the directions for one of the four essays. Instead, he pointed to a blank following a question regarding Zechariah burning incense in the temple when Gabriel visited him, announcing the impending birth of the baby who would be known as John the Baptist. This what he said:
"Coach, I crossed out my answer and changed it. I didn't want you to think I was cheating."

That was it. No interpretation or rewording needed. He just was making sure I knew he was honest.

Like many little things, it really had a bigger implication to me. How many people would go to those lengths to insure a teacher's impression would remain positive? And here's the thing- I would not have thought twice about his answer. I have never suspected Tre of cheating but apparently that's not good enough for him. And I like that. I thought of Paul's admonition to avoid the appearance of evil. I tell my basketball players when playing defense to always let the referees see our hands so they will know we aren't fouling. I wish I were more concerned about making sure others knew I was innocent in some matters or at least trying to do the right thing however feebly. I'm sure I'm too comfortable in letting people draw their own conclusions and that drawing may paint an ugly picture of me. Not Tre- he just painted me a perfect picture of transparency. There should be a gallery for that kind of masterpiece.

Applicable quote of the day:
Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence.

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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