It’s midterms here at school! That means all of those zeroes are rising up from their sleepy graves and haunting those do-poorly students as they face report cards.
My most unfavoritest time of the year!
I love struggling students. I love to help them and encourage them. I love to see them turn things in. But you see, that’s the rub: turning things in. I would argue that 90% of my failing students fail because they don’t turn things in. Not that they would have made stellar grades on it, but at least they would have gotten points.
It’s been a rough year for a few of my students; they’ve missed quite a bit of class due to illnesses. It’s weird, though, that I never ever see this illness in my class. They just miss a lot of school. Moving on. I’ve held lunch sessions, offered make-ups, given detailed assignment sheets, given the opportunity for bonus points (that were earned, I assure you). I even offered a full class period of one-on-one help and make-ups last week because our school was “out” for Softball Finals. Did the students take the advantage of it? Yes, actually. All but one. That sick kid who is never sick, he chose to go to the game. “Oh, I’ll turn all of those papers in tomorrow.”
Skeptical teacher look, “Including that 100 point assignment that I’ve given you an extra week on?”
“Oh yeah yeah, I’ll turn it all in.”
Friday comes around: no student, no papers. Monday comes around: student, no papers.
Phew. That’s a lot of zeroes! The kid went from a passing grade to an F in 15 seconds. He was gone on Friday, as well, and when I gave him his absent work (an open notes review test) he refused to do it, “But you didn’t tell me the instructions!”
“Well, I told you it was open notes, multiple choice, and due tomorrow. If you’d even looked at the test, the instructions are right on top.”
Huffing and puffing.
Fast forward to about 15 minutes ago, soft knocks at the door. “Oh hey so… I forgot my test or lost it or something, can I have another?”
My heart has never beat so loud in my ears. I’ve never been so irate. I got him a test, and can’t wait to grade it.
I have given this student in particular time, after time, after time, after time to correct his mess, to finish his work, to do what I asked of him. But he refuses. All I get are half-hearted apologies and assignments that are failed simply because he doesn’t listen to instructions.
And as I sat down to pound all of this out on the keyboard, MAD TEACHER STATUS, I heard a soft whisper (no joke), “Really? Because… isn’t that what you do to Me? All the time? Despite my, you know, death on the cross for your sins and all of that grace I have continually poured out for you?”
Seriously, this kid is doing to me, an imperfect teacher, exactly what I do to Christ daily. I don’t listen. I don’t “turn stuff in.” I don’t do what I’m asked to do, I just sorta do it. And here I sit, all mad and angry at this kid, seeking justice, wanting him to do better but instead of having pity and praying for him, I am so mad I could spit.
A wise woman once told me that she told her daughter in a time of pride, “I doubt you could ever be so put upon, unless you’ve slammed that crown of thorns upon your own head and had to die for that person’s sins!” (I’m paraphrasing). And isn’t it true?! Who am I to get hurt about the injustice done when I myself am committing an injustice with FAR greater consequences? If we took the time each day to realize the grace poured on our own hearts, how much grace would we then pour out to others?
The kid comes back in about 28 minutes. Praying for grace and clarity, and for a better semester ahead.
Ready for Fall Break! Ready for Christ to break me.