Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dear Student: A Free Verse Reflection On Final Exams

Dear Student,

We've come to the end of our road together
You and me
We've been through thick and thin
You have grown in some ways but not others
You haven't always been in class
Or on your best behavior

You've tried your best
Other times not so much
I know
Or at least I have an idea
Of what you're capable of
Do you see it?
Your abilities
What you could become

Your home life sucks
I get it
It's not pleasant
In fact, it's downright miserable
You've grown up too fast
You're 15 going on 30
Lots of people growing up have two parents
You've got maybe one
On a good day
Many times you are the parent
And it's not an easy job

I see glimpses
Of your intelligence
Of a good, kindhearted soul
Other times not so much
I see anger in your voice
I see despair in your eyes
I see frustration built up
Over a system that has let you down
It's still letting you down today
I am part of that system

Your fate is in my hands
It's too much power honestly
For a person such as myself
Why me?  
I see you there Student
You've been in my classroom
You've been part of my life
And yet here we are

You're more than a number
I know that
And yet that's what you will become
That number will become a letter
A letter grade on a transcript
Employers won't see what I've seen
They won't know what I know
In fact, they won't even see my name
It's like I don't even exist

But I do exist
And now I have a decision to make
My job is to evaluate you
To assign a numerical value to your learning
I can't grade what's in your head
All I've got is the work you've produced
It isn't much at all
It's nowhere near what was expected of you
Right now, you're not where you need to be

This decision is more than a class
It's about your life
Can you turn things around?
Am I doing you a disservice?
What does that letter grade mean to you?
Do you see it as hope?
Or does it represent complacency?  
Will it motivate you?
Or completely break you?

Dear Student
Why do you put me in this position?
I don't want to have to decide on this
You've made me this way
Where will you be in twenty, thirty years?
Will you remember me?
Will you have any idea the agony you've put me through?
I hope that whatever happens
You'll know this decision wasn't taken lightly

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