Save Me From Myself

We just got our test grades back from our last Math for Elementary Education test, and I made a 93. Some of my classmates in my group text are going, “Yes! I made a 87!” and are getting comments like, “Woohoo!” and “You go, girl!” and meanwhile, I’m sitting here thinking, “Wonder what I missed. I’ve got to do better. There were just four points between me and a B.” Don’t worry, I definitely do not tell my classmates that I’m (mildly) disappointed about a 93.

During the first week of Spring classes, my American Literature instructor asked me what I made in my last English class. I told him I made a 99. He said that means I had to have made a high A on every test and essay, and I probably wouldn’t be able to do that in his class. We have had one test and one essay so far, and I made a 100 and a 96 respectively. Looks like I’m doing what he said I probably wouldn’t be able to do; however, his comment gave me anxiety. I stressed about both of these assignments and worried while I awaited the grades, even though I knew I had done my best.

I got my test back and it was covered in red ink.


Ross, my instructor (He insists we call him by his first name), talked to me after class Thursday and let me know my essay grade so I wouldn’t worry about it over the weekend. He let me know that he wrote all over my essay as well. I told him I had never seen that much red ink on any of my 100s, and he said while I did what he asked and I deserved my 100 on his test, he doesn’t want his class to be one I go through my normal motions, make another A, and move on; he wants me to grow. He said writing a 100 at the top of my paper and leaving it at that will do nothing for me. As someone going into teaching, I admire and appreciate that a lot. Feedback is something I crave and value, but I haven’t received very much of it. When I finished my paper last weekend, I sent it off to a company called Brainfuse, whom my college hired to offer tutoring to its students. We get to submit three essays a month to Brainfuse, and they send back grammar corrections and feedback. I received the following “feedback:”

Your grammar is very good for the most part. There are a couple of simple mistakes that you can revise by referencing the in-text comments that I have made. It really was a struggle to find much wrong with your paper, so it just needs a little polishing.

I don’t blame the tutors, but getting this kind of feedback regularly is frustrating. Like Ross pointed out, I don’t grow. I know I’m not perfect, and while I do want my A, I also want to reach my next level in essay-writing, or analysis, or Math, or wherever I’m putting my efforts. Fortunately, I typically only get this kind of feedback in English courses. English is kind of my jam.

A goal I want to set for myself is to relax a little more. I don’t mean I should work less hard, or not give my all on an assignment, but when something comes back as a 93, I want to be happy like my classmates are. I don’t think I’ve fully embraced the fact that an ‘A’ is a 4.0 in college whether it’s a 90 or a 100. I think there is a lot of effort between a 90 and a 100, but I’m afraid if I allow myself to give less of me, something might come back as a ‘B.’ A ‘B’ is a ‘C’ to me. A ‘C’ is… well, I won’t even entertain that thought.

Sorry for the huge amount of nerd in this post. Here’s a little more: for those interested, I uploaded the essay I wrote last weekend here. I’ve been posting all of my essays on this site in the Write section because I see them as samples of my writing, and I want to hopefully later observe how much I’ve grown.

I absolutely hated the essay prompt, but I once I let myself go and just jump into it, I had a lot of fun with it, and I’m pretty proud of the final product. We had to analyze an early Puritan writing from the view point of a Native American story type. Ridiculous, huh? I decided to analyze Anne Bradstreet’s poem, “The Prologue” from the point of view of a Native American Culture Hero Story. Once I convinced myself that Bradstreet, the speaker in the poem (which isn’t always the author, but happened to be the case in this piece), was indeed a culture hero, I was golden. I was tempted to examine Witch Trial court documents from the point of view of a Native American Trickster Tale, but I couldn’t suspend belief that much.

Let’s hear from you!

  • What was/is your favorite subject in school?
  • What was/is your best subject in school? Is it the same as your favorite?
  • Did you keep your essays or were they tossed after you submitted them?
  • Do you recall any weird essay prompts or assignments from school?

4 Responses to Save Me From Myself

  • OMG you did great!! I understand being hard on yourself and feeling like disappointed when you do even the slightest bit poorly. This is not something to just say, “omg don’t look at it like that!” I just wish I could give you a hug and say you did great, but you WILL do better next time.

    I had a chuckle at the bit where your instructor was, like, purposefully trying to find something wrong with your paper. I think that type of teaching is good ONLY because it will help you become better and try to do a little more.

    You don’t have to beat yourself up and, if you do, that’s okay too but as long as you can let it go afterward, that’s all that matters! (Also, I hope it’s not annoying that I don’t write correctly/grammatically correct in responses. This is literally how I talk aloud and I’m from Ohio. So. lol)

    Cheer up, buttercup<3

    • Hey, Angelica!

      Thank you so much! I am a perfectionist when it comes to school and my grades, especially in courses that I know I should do well in like English and Math. I am really working on letting go of some of that pressure I put on myself. I don’t have to be perfect. Part of what I found helps is putting a positive spin on the grade. If I make a 96, I was *near* perfect. That’s awesome! I can look at my instructor’s notes, or talk to him after class, figure out what I did wrong, and work on it so I don’t make the same mistakes again! I made my first B in college yesterday on a Geometry test. I was disappointed, but after I thought about it, I was like, “I knew 89% of the material. I just need to tighten up on 11% of it before I’m tested on it again on the Final.” Looking at it that way helps a lot.

      I love my American Literature teacher. I told him he is pushing me out of my comfort zone, and while it’s scary, it’s really good. I appreciate it.

      Concerning your grammar: I haven’t noticed anything wrong with it! I think blogs and especially comment sections of blogs are super conversational and laid back. As long as you don’t use “your” when you should use “you’re,” you won’t bother me. 😉

  • It is wonderful that your teacher was trying to help you and allow you to really grow and develop. I try and work hard in my classes and I am always after constructive comments that can help me get better. If you care about what you are doing you are commited to learning and gathering knowledge and I think some teachers can see this.

    • I think so too! We had to write another paper after this one I posted, and I felt so nervous turning it in because I didn’t rely on what I normally do. My professor is really pushing me out of my comfort zone, but it’s helping me grow.

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