December 19th – You can’t force someone to earn an A

Life is funny sometimes. The chaos of last week, of where at the end of the days I had stacks of assignments to grade, review games to plan and organize, seems so far away – surreal almost as a dream. Brain dead – unable to even reflect – and body tired after running a literal marathon the weekend before mad it difficult to be find moments of peace and victory.

Today was our second day of finals  – one more examination to mark that I have made it  survived my first semester of teaching. And that’s pretty odd, I suppose. I never thought I would be here, in the middle of the pacific, teaching kids about the planet and our own bodies and cells and mitosis but here we are. Waking up at 5 everyday, staying at work for far too long to be healthy, and going to bed y (hopefully?) 8pm.

And here I am, having to be strong and strict with students who want just a few more points for an “A”, an measurement of hard-work and understanding of materials… after not turning in anything all quarter. As someone who had this drive to succeed, and desire to excel at what I did, it’s hard seeing students fail at being students. But as I talked with my friend and co-worker I realized – I can’t force my student to have an A if she doesn’t want it. This is evident as I grade tests and see too many students not take advantage of extra credit questions (such as ‘what was something you enjoyed learning or was new in this class;) – a few points that could potentially help a student move up a letter grade.

For some, passing is the goal – and my own ambition won’t necessarily change that.

And I think I’m finding some peace  – the pressure is not all on me for the students to get A’s, they’re learning how to be organized and be responsible for themselves (and their assignments to turn in and tests to study for) – just like all of us are. I just pray that learning process is not too stressful or painful for us.

On the bright side, none of my students have failed the final in my class- for which I am very proud and grateful!