The Value of a Bad Grade

I was reflecting on a particular paper that I wrote in high school.  I remember the topic and my grade, but this one paper really opened my mind to a whole new way of thinking.

The topic is irrelevant.  The main idea is that my teacher that was grading the paper did not agree with any of my ideas.  You would think that the English teacher would just stick to the grammar and presentation of the information.  It stood out to me though that she made more comments about some of my ideas because it was radically different than hers.  Instead of grading my paper, she argued with me – something that now I am so thankful for.

I remember thinking that I was trying to have an open mind and work out – for myself – other lines of thinking to challenge myself.  Instead of encouraging me to think, she rebuked me for doing so.  It challenged me to not be that way.  It helped me to be open to ideas and different lines of thinking – than my own.

I got a bad grade – one of the worst of my entire academic career.  As you see, it stands out, but it was instrumental in helping me to develop an open mind to new ideas.  It helped me to develop the courage to not back down – even when it was a teacher that I really respected.

So to my teacher that gave me a bad grade – thank you.  Thank you for modeling narrow-mindedness for me and opening my mind to the possibility of something greater than myself.

Do you have a similar story?  Did you have a teacher like this?  Please share your story.  I’d love to hear it.

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