A Beautiful Mistake

Sometimes even the best make a mistake. Yesterday grades were due and I posted everything on time as required, but then I discovered that I had a typo on one of my assignments that accidentally multiplied the weight of that assignment a hundred times. This made an innocuous homework sheet about pronouns more impactful than all the other assignments put together for the entire semester, including the final exam. So some students who received F’s should have received A’s and some A students failed the class. Of course students had been complaining about their grades, but they always do so I wasn’t paying attention. To make matters worse, the report cards had already been printed and mailed so every correction that I made would have required paperwork, which I find tiresome and inconvenient.

Then I made another “mistake”. I “accidentally” reset my entire grade-book so that everything that I had input for the entire year was gone. This prevented those students who are always scrutinizing everything to see my error, which I thought would fix the problem because I told the failing students that they had bombed the final and the new crop of A students that they had crushed it. Actually it was kind of a beautiful solution because I still had a perfect bell curve across my classes–just in the reverse order of what they should have been. And I thought: it’s probably good for the perfects to experience failure and it is probably equally good for the retards to feel success in their hearts. Adversity makes strong people stronger and triumph encourages weak people to confidence.

But the students didn’t buy my explanation, and when I told them that Snowball peed on the stack of their finals and that I then put them outside to dry where they blew away, they got suspicious. Now I had a platoon of college-obsessed helicopter parents ordering a formal investigation into my gradebook practices. They demanded a hardcopy of the original assignment listings that I had sent to the Registrars office on Monday. So yesterday after school I paid a little visit to El Registrar while she was out and found the document, and shredded it. The Registrar will probably think that she lost it, so we’ll see what happens.


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