Grades I Regret Giving

Grades I Regret Giving*

Your essay on the broken toaster

Had poor grammar

But I cried when it got to

The part about your grandmother

Why did I give you a C?

I think of that essay every day

In your creative writing assignment

You wrote about how

A nude picture you commissioned for

Your boyfriend went wrong

I was embarrassed, reading it

You deserved a higher grade

I was wrong about the Crimean War

And that weird Wikipedia page

You quoted was legit

I was drinking cooking wine

When I read the paper

That ruined your GPA

You never went back to school

The essay you wrote about

Immigrants living 10 to a room

In your hometown

Still wakes me up at night

Why did I mark it down for spelling?

One night you snuck onto your

Father’s fishing boat with

The bad boyfriend

Your father caught you

Skinny dipping the

Next morning and you ducked under

The water and swallowed salt

Trying to hide your head

These are the things I remember about

Your B minus essay

As if they happened to me

You were a smart aleck

And cruel to the short kid

I overheard you making

Fun of my sweater, well

They don’t pay us much

Still I should not have taken

Points off because you

Reminded me of my step-brother

Bobby I did not know your

Father beat you when I was so

Hard on that paper

I now know you wrote on a park bench

After he kicked you out

I beat myself up about it every day

The short story about your

Botched 8th-grade circumcision was

So funny

Why did I insist you should have

Stuck to the prompt?

I don’t remember any of the essays

That got an A

I guess the paper you wrote about

The death of your sister’s

Cat Nibbles in the den

Was sentimental and

There were certainly

Comma splices,

So how come I am

Thinking of it now

Two decades later

As my cat trembles its last

Tiny fur breaths

On my lap?

*“When Grading Harms Student Learning: Instead of issuing zeros, penalizing late work, and grading formative assessments, teachers should make the classroom a place of hope instead of fear,” Edutpoia, Andrew Miller

Also Read: The Longest Rubric Contest

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