The 7th grade class at Pioneer Middle School in Steilacoom, Washington met for history. In the first week, we had a chapter to read and questions to answer. Friday, a test was given to us and we all, every single one of us, bombed the test.
I hate tests. I dislike them for the pressure, the push, the rush, and the time frame. I think teaching for the test is wrong; from a young age, I have felt strongly negative about tests.
The instructor, on the fresh Monday morning, stood in front of the class and looked at us. We were quiet. I was really quiet anyhow, however, I was feeling uncomfortable. Something about the ‘look’ he was giving us made me feel we had done something REALLY wrong. It was the father’s look, the one you don’t want to ever, ever get.
He then said, “We are doing something different. For the next three weeks, you are going to learn how to study and how to take a test. We learned how to study.
He made study guides for us.
He went over them at the start of class.
Taught the material and had us fill in the details on the study guide.
He then would write extra things on the chalkboard. He would turn and look at us and suggest we write that down. I began my note-taking career and passion at the moment I picked up the pen. I got it.
He gave us the test to take home as a practice exam and told us to bring it in on Wednesday.
On Thursday, he would go over the questions and suggest we study the guide one more time before the test on Friday.
Again, we all started to move like little school soldiers. Writing in on our papers, with a #2 pencil, taking notes and doing the work.
Monday came all too soon.
We sat in the classroom waiting.
The instructor, Mr. Taylor, stood in front, holding our tests. They were on a nasty, old-fashioned green paper. Almost a nauseated color. Maybe it’s a reason I don’t like the specific green?
He announced, “You have risen in your grades. Good job. Two more weeks of study” and he went on to pass out the next study guide, in the same green.
Three weeks later, we each got our grades up to A’s and B’s and I realized I knew how to study, how to take a test, and how to plan for the tests each week. The instructor saw a class of 30 kids who did not know how to study and he took the time out of the schedule to teach us how to study and prepare for an exam each week. We learned. I remember becoming excited about history, the ideas of how to study, and what makes the world go round.
Because of the teacher’s interest in our person, our ability, and our future, I became a strong, studious student. I recently graduated with my Summa Cum Laude, 4.0 GPA from a University where I will walk and get my Master’s degree.
Thank you to all the teachers out there, from all grade levels who teach to the student’s heart and seek to help them become tomorrow’s leaders.
My instructors have my respect and my gratitude. They are there as guideposts on the vast journey of knowledge. From the 1979–1980 school year to 2019, I continue to learn, engage, and seek to change the world, one study at a time.
~Just a thought by Pamela
Previously published on Medium.com.
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Mirna Alfonso, Patch Staff 2013