The other day my grandson James came home from school with a smile on his face……..and he told me of his good fortune, having attained the high mark of 92% for his last night’s math homework. He pulled it out of his school bag and sure enough, there it was, in red. 92%!
Now I must admit to being somewhat wary of teachers, from past experience, so I read James’ paper in some depth, finding that he had in fact answered all questions correctly but had been “awarded” a deduction of 8% for “general untidiness”! And it is here where I have to disagree with all the teachers who take this approach. Those teachers who take away the rightful glory of someone who, maybe for the first time in their lives has reached the lofty heights of 100%. But he didn’t get there. No! He was robbed of that small glory. A glory that could have boosted his ego and, because it was an envigorating experience could probably have lured him into a repeat performance. Luckily, in James’ case, he was elated with his 92%, so perhaps no damage was done. But he was still robbed!
HOW DO YOU SAY “SORRY?”
It reminded me of that time in Morgan Academy when one math teacher gave me “the strap” for not doing my homework. I had just been promoted to his higher math class, had NOT been taught the specific subject matter, had spent 3 to 4 hours attempting to solve the problem, and had received 3 of the best for my efforts…….3 painful whacks from a 2-feet long piece of forked leather! I didn’t deserve it of course and under normal circumstances I may have run away from the subject, backed off so to speak……but I didn’t. I was mad….mad as Hell….and I was going to show HIM!
And show him I did! Over the next few months I was able to catch up with the advanced studies and ended up, as we all did, completing the Scottish Higher Leaving Certificate exams. Our class had a complement of 32 students and guess what? Only one passed…………………….. ME!
The day following the announcement of exam results the math teacher met me in the corridor and shook my hand, congratulating me for my success with much enthusiasm. I was not enamoured….and showed it. I was only human after all……….and it was only a few days later that I heard of his illness……….and then, some months after of his demise.
He had misjudged me, of course. That was obvious, and for that lack on his part I had felt an anger towards him that was understandable certainly, yet perhaps a bit childish. But I too had misjudged. I too had seen only the trees. He should have believed my story….my alibi……..and damn it, he didn’t! He had believed what all teachers believed…..and that was not right.
And later, too late, the wood became evident. He had been a new teacher………….had just been assigned to the Academy……He couldn’t tell me from Adam, or the rest of the class for that matter………………………….So, how do you say “Sorry” ?
Not with words.