“Cher, why did you give me a B?!” The student spouted in a somewhat accusatory tone.
“R”, I started in my most patient tone, knowing he didn’t take well to confrontations and challenges. “I didn’t GIVE you that B. You GOT a B. It’s what you earned for yourself.” I ended with a tiny knowing smile at him, just to show that I wasn’t really chiding, but reminding him of the truth he already knows.
My statement seemed to surprise him a little – I could tell from his loss of words, which doesn’t happen very often. He then gave a slightly sheepish smile. I knew he had been aiming for an A, and it was understandable that the B had left him disappointed.
More than learning where he had lost valuable marks, I also hope he learnt the value of taking responsibility for his effort and actions, and the importance of accepting disappointment in life, without blaming them all on others or on external circumstances.