So I sit down this morning getting ready to prepare for the day. A mother calls with a concern about her son’s grade. One of the concerns is that they don’t have a computer at home, so he couldn’t do something. I pointed out that I don’t expect the kids to do things at home for reasons like that. I looked at his grades. I pointed out that he forgot either one part or the other and as I am double checking…I am horrified. I had missed part of his submission. (A two part test, talked about earlier.) I fixed that grade and apologized. Then, I pointed out that he hadn’t turned in another assignment and as I double-checked, I realized that somehow I had missed grading one whole assignment for the class. In some cases others had resubmitted the assignment so those grades were up to date. But when I quickly graded the assignments, I had to make 6 grade changes.
The mother was very gracious as we dealt with my mistake. I talked to our secretary and told her that I had messed up. As I explained the situation, she just smiled and handed me a stack of grade change slips. The child whose mother called moved to the all A honor roll and when I told her that she grabbed the “A” honor roll ribbon and incentive package and gave it to me so I could give it to him. He got it with my profuse apologies. While the other grade changes were important, none of them made as drastic a difference as the first child’s change.
I always tell students to check their grades because I might make a mistake. Of course, I always tell them that not expecting to make any mistakes. I was embarrassed today, and rightfully so, by my own mistakes. I am glad that the parent was gracious. I not only apologized to the student involved, I made sure that the class knew about those changes and that grades had been adjusted. As teachers we do make mistakes. While I was embarrassed by my mistake, I think it was important for me to be open about it with the kids. This way, they hear someone apologizing when they’ve done wrong and they see me trying to make things right. How many kids have no models of apology or forgiveness to imitate? How many kids are not accustomed to the idea of making things right when they’ve wronged someone? Now they see things fixed with everyone happy. One step at a time.