Royally Screwed Over

| Learning | November 27, 2013

(I am a sophomore in high school, in an honors English course. We have been assigned a series of projects around ‘The Once and Future King,’ for which we have options ranging from writing straight essays to doing more artistic works. I choose to list the known Kings and Queens of England as far as history documents. Rather than printing them out on a dot-matrix printer or writing them on notebook paper, I painstakingly write the names in calligraphy, with a dip pen, on a parchment scroll.)

Teacher: “You did a lovely job on this. Where did you get this scroll?”

Me: “I made it, from dowel rods and parchment.”

Teacher: “And did you actually do this yourself? I didn’t know you could do calligraphy.”

Me: “I taught myself, just for this project.”

Teacher: “That’s very impressive! With a dip pen?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

(The teacher then proceeds to write ‘B-‘ on the scroll. I am deflated.)

Me: “Uh, did I do the list wrong?”

Teacher: “Nope. Everything was correct.”

Me: “Why is this a ‘B-?'”

Teacher: “Because you didn’t do all the lines straight.”

Me: “Huh?”

(I look around at other students’ projects, which are already graded, and point to one of them.)

Me: “You gave [Other Student] a B+, and she did this on notebook paper and confused ‘Alfred the Great’ and ‘Æthelred the Unready.'”

Teacher: “Yes?”

Me: “So you’re saying it would have been better to be factually wrong than to not be an expert at a brand-new art form?”

Teacher: “If you’re going to do something, do it right!”

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