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It was the day of rest after weeks and weeks of homework, tests and projects. The faculty at my school had decided that it would only be fair to allow us a day to breathe. And while other students sat calmly typing, reading, and flipping flashcards; I stood ahead of Mr. Alwardt’s desk hyperventilating because I did not believe that I could make it through freshman year. It was the first year that the school opened, we were, and still are, the guinea pigs of Macomb County. Freshman and sophomore year are dedicated to preparing students for the International Baccalaureate Programme. Last year, being a freshman and the highest class, there was nobody who had already been through the curriculum. There was nobody who could say, “I understand”.

I do not quite remember how we were separated that day. I do, however, remember that I was in Mr. Alwardt’s classroom. He called each of us up alphabetically and told us what our grades were. I would look up every so often and see a grin on an eager student’s face, but knew my reaction would not be so joyful. Then I heard my name called, I bit my lip and walked to his desk. He told me my grade. I still to this day will not willingly say what it was. I remember asking if I was missing anything. His response was that I had turned in everything. I asked him if there was any chance of bringing it up in the next two weeks. He told me about coming essays and quizzes. Getting perfect grades on everything would still only bring me up to a low B.

Getting a perfect grade on anything in Mr. Alwardt’s class was not easy. Being first quarter during our first year in high school, we began with simple things such as the format for writing and argumentative paragraph. I would spend hours writing one paragraph. I would be proud of this paragraph. I would turn it in with a grin of achievement. I was proud, that is, until I got it back with a C, a C-, or sometimes even a D written on top. I did not understand why I got such a horrible grade. I was so proud that I had not even considered asking him. I just thought to myself, “that paper deserved an A” and I continued to fill my head with these lies about how I wrote. These lies about how Mr. Alwardt does not understand. Mr. Alwardt does not care. It was not until the make-up day, the day that I asked him “What am I doing wrong,” that I realized that he had cared the whole time.

I conveniently ignored the numerous times that he had offered students to stay after school to go over papers individually. I ignored the many times he said to ask him if we did not understand. But I did the most brainless thing of all; I ignored him candidly telling me what I had done wrong. On each paper, he wrote in the margins what I had done improperly and how to fix it. He told me everything that I needed to know, and I ignored him.

So I stood there, feeling as pathetic as ever, crying at the realization that it was truly my fault. I finally took into consideration what he had been telling me for months. I dug through my binder and read each of the notes that I had originally ignorantly disregarded as meaningless scribbles. I set up a day to stay after school. I worked those two weeks: I worked those two weeks more than I have worked during the entire time since then, and I made it. I made it because of Mr. Alwardt. Mr. Alwardt is the most meticulous teacher that I have ever had. At first I hated it, but now, I realize that to get a good grade I his class is to earn a good grade in his class. This is not something you can say about most classes at most schools. It is the greatest feeling to know that you have truly earned something. Thank you, Mr. Alwardt.




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

NeverJuliet said...
May 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm:
This sort of reminds me of the piece I did about my substitute teacher. I liked how straight forward you were with the moral of the story. There was no doubt behind the message. Very good!
 
Paigie4life replied...
May 9, 2010 at 7:58 am :
Thanks, that's kind of what i was aiming to do.
 
StKa replied...
May 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm :
Woooo. I can really feel what you were feeling. Knowing Mr. Alwardt, I can sympathize with you. Sometimes we don't take the things he writes seriously, but he does it because he cares. Really well written, Paige!
 
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