A Tough Teacher

Dear parents and other readers, I have a confession to make. I was a terrible student through junior high and much of high school. Not terrible grade-wise. My grades were actually decent. Certainly I was not a poorly behaved student although bad jokes were part of my nature even way back then.

No, I was pretty terrible because I could skate. And skate I did. Until Miss Colby.

Now picture this. I was rail thin but very tall my first year in high school. And Miss Colby, my history teacher, was rail thin and, well, short. Not an imposing figure at all with her thick glasses and short, bobbed hair.

But she remains a key influencer in my life. Why? Because she picked up on me right away. I was a skater and she was not going to stand for it. So when my first half-hearted essay test was graded and returned there was a big fat C on it. This was not something I was used to. And I cannot remember if she wrote a note or spoke to me directly, but her message was clear. What I produced was not acceptable because she knew I was capable of so much more.

I would love to say that I never slacked off again, but that would not be true. But I did admire her and want to work harder for her because I knew she had high expectations.

And this tough grader made me a better student. Do you have a similar story? I would love to hear from you.

The article below from Tim Elmore really hit home for me. See what you think.

In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd

Note: Contrast Miss Colby with my high school physics teacher who graded on a curve. He would post grades outside his classroom after every test. Picture me knowing I had done poorly on a test over the concept of torque (something I still struggle to understand). I saw my score was under 50%. Yuck. This was a pretty accurate measure of my knowledge. Now picture me looking over to the letter grade section and seeing an “A”.I figured out that my abysmal score was actually the highest in the class. Ask yourself if that motivated me or any other classmate to step up our efforts.

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