On a recent cleaning binge, my mom found my 11th grade report card stuffed in a file box along with old writings, homework assignments and a certificate announcing that I had passed Drivers Education class in August of 1997.
I’m 37 years old, and a high school teacher now, and everyday I witness the enormous pressures that 11th graders (and their parents) place on their still-rounding shoulders.
High school mythology decrees that 11th grade is the Acropolis. It’s the most important 10 months of your life. The make or break year. The one that demands academic greatness. The 11th grade transcript is the one colleges scrutinize and consider the most when deciding to accept or decline your admission. According to legend,11th grade is the year where your destiny is formed and fated.
Below you will find my 11th grade year end report card.
It’s apparent that at 16 years old I wasn’t overly concerned with achieving academic greatness. To be honest, my main concern was scoring a date with the pretty girl in Spanish class. Spoiler alert….9 years later I would marry that senorita… muy suave!
My Class Ranking
If my 11th grade report card is an approximation of my destiny, I’m destined to be stunningly average.
I ranked 168 out of 337 students in the 11th grade class. If you do the math (because, clearly, my algebra grade indicates I don’t math) 337/2 = 168.5
Analysis: In high school I was absolutely, fantastically, beautifully average.
Final Grade: 87
Analysis: Religion was my second highest grade in my report card. I believe the grade is slightly underwhelming given the fact this was my 11th year of Catholic education.
But like a true B+ Catholic, I knew the basics of the Bible, received the required sacraments and was a semi-annual church goer (Christmas & Easter) who pretended to go every Sunday.
Final Grade: 85
Analysis: This was a massive blow to my current (and slightly bloated) ego.
I have presented at writing workshops for college professors.
My article, “It’s called The Alchemist and you should read it”was recently retweeted by International Bestselling Author Paulo Coehlo.
Yet, in spite of all that, an unimpressive B in 11th grade English will forever be etched in the annals of time.
American History 3
Final Grade: 89
Analysis: Everything I know about American History I learned from watching Forrest Gump.
Final Grade: 74
Analysis: In high school I clearly did not understand algebra which, interestingly was the very last time in my life I was forced to multiply numbers by letters.
Final Grade: 84
Analysis: According to my teacher, Mr. Krier, I was “one of the top one of the students in the class.” I earned an 84. Either he was just being nice or I was, in fact, the one star in a constellation of street lamps.
Final Grade: 77
Analysis: I blame Cindy for this one. I spent the entire year distracted by her legs and perfecting such romantic expressions as “Coma estas, chica?” and “Muy caliente” in a deep, seductive inflection.
Analysis: One of my students once told me that he was going to be an accountant because in 11th grade he did well in accounting class. If 11th grade grades are indicators of future professions I clearly should have been a professional athlete.
Final Grade: 97
Analysis: Minus a shirttail infraction, which was sheer blasphemy in a Catholic school, I was absolute saintly.
It’s time to be serious.
I didn’t learn much in high school.
It’s nothing against my teachers but, aside from meeting Cindy and a group of friends I’m still close with, the educational experience was uninspiring.
In fact, I can’t name one high school teacher who inspired me to become a teacher.
So why did I become a high school teacher if my experience in high school was incredibly forgettable?
It’s a question I’ve tussled with lately.
Selflessly, I want to spend my days talking and teaching about reading and writing. But I also think I’m attempting to vindicate my own stale high school experience.
Work is a tricky thing. Immersing yourself in work for only a paycheck is a soul-sucking existence. Working for personal fulfillment is righteous but doesn’t pay the electric bill.
Maybe, if we look hard enough, we find work that fills a previous void.
Maybe, teaching is my attempt to provide students with experiences I never had. And maybe, selfishly, I stand and deliver in the classroom everyday attempting to fall in favor with the teacher, earn some extra credit and improve that 85.