[DISCLAIMER: The following story is a “when-I-was-in-high-school” story.]
When I was in high school, students could be separated into two groups: the Born Test Takers and the Average Struggling Students. I’m certain you’ve already had the pleasure of meeting a BTT. Heck! You might even fit into this category! If you do, I’ll admit that I don’t particularly like you. I still have an immature resentment for how easy test taking comes to you. If you’re still not sure what category you fit into, ask yourself the following question:
Do you have an abundance of free time spent NOT studying?
If you answered “yes”, then you are in fact a BTT and I don’t much care for you’re kind. Instead of studying, you’re more likely to be found socializing. When the time comes to be tested over the material that the rest of us are studying over all night, the BTT will have no trouble jumping through the hoops like an obedient best of show Maltese terrier at the Westminster kennel club.
[DISCLAIMER: Try and keep up with me, because transitions aren’t my strength.]
In the eighth grade, it was required that I take a general academic skills exam before enrolling in a private high school. Much like every exam, I got nervous, froze up, and my mind went blank. As a result of the less than spectacular score, my parents had to endure the embarrassment of being told (in a very politically correct manner, I’m sure) by the high school counselor that I would have better success in a “regular” high school. Consequently, this didn’t translate to my mother who was familiar with people doubting her abilities. When she immigrated to America, she was the oldest of six, experienced the death of her father, lived in poverty, and had to endure social prejudices of the times. Before he died in an accident, her father had moved his family to America with the intention of providing educational opportunity. My mother worked through school and college, later graduating from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX; she was the first graduate in her family.
Despite the counselor’s advice, my parents enrolled me. They pushed and encouraged me through four years of College Prep curriculum and it wasn’t always in the friendly manner of modern parenting! Eventually I was getting ready to graduate and had to start applying for colleges. I had to apply through my counselor who was difficult to schedule time with. I had to stop by before school, between classes, at lunch, after school, and between various extracurricular activities in order to schedule time with the counselor. The counselor stayed busy pulling my friends out of class and chasing them down the halls begging them to fill out college applications.
I finally did get some time scheduled and narrowed my choices down to three colleges. My top choice was the University of Oklahoma. In a very politically correct manner, the counselor explained the challenging curriculum at this school and based on my current ACT practice scores, I would be more successful at a junior college.
“…but that’s not really what I want.” I protested.
“Let’s fill out an application just in case.” the counselor
said, sliding the application form across the desk.
Five years later, I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with half my masters degree complete. Somewhere in time I must have evolved into a BTT or somehow learned to be a better student. Whatever it was, I didn’t have to overwhelm myself when it was time to take the three major exams required to be a certified educator in Oklahoma. I was recently very flattered when my old high school called me up and had an awfully impressive job offer for me. Maybe that’s how long it takes to get some people to believe in your potential. Perhaps my high school teachers believed in me all along. Whatever the reason, I’m proud that my old high school would ask me to return as a faculty member. Like my immediate family, I believe I represent my high school, the teachers and the mentors that helped me grow up and I’d hate to embarrass them. But I’m not leaving NHS, yet. I like being a Tiger.