The $5 Challenge
I heard the stories as a child…
of Dad skipping school and running wild,
breaking the ice to go for a swim.
Skunky smell emanating from him…
sent home or banished to the hall.
Given his grades for playing basketball.
Joined the Navy by lying about his age,
used the GI Bill to go to college.
Dad wasn’t much help with study skills,
but he gave me an incentive of a five-dollar bill
for earning straight “A”s…a perfect report card.
In my sophomore year, I tried really hard!
By dropping my hated typing class,
I thought I could get all “A”s at last!
But the honor roll with a “B” or two
just seemed to be the best I could do.
The quest became a pain in the neck,
and to this day, I still hunt and peck.
The next two years, until graduation,
I focused on directing my own education.
I abandoned chasing grades…No “busy work” for me!
There were books to be read as far as the eye could see!
After that, I took art class seriously
and sketched my teacher in trigonometry.
Like my father before me, banished to the hall,
I read a book and didn’t mind at all.
I was multitasking in trigonometry…
Figuring that out, my teacher tolerated me!
Moved to the back of the room, not banished to the hall…
I sat drawing, learning, and having a ball!
My history teacher was a boring jock!
Outline the chapter?…I think he was in shock
that my outline was heads and subheads. My grades slid,
but I got an education despite the rude things I did.
No “busy work,” copying sentences in grammar!
Zeros hurt my grades, but it didn’t matter…
I scored high on tests, so my grades were okay.
No offense, teachers…Just trying to find my way!
Married at eighteen, then job and family.
Night school part-time at twenty-six…I was ready!
At the beginning of each quarter, I always asked,
“What do I have to do to get an ‘A’ in your class?”
After all the drama, I finally had my four-point-oh…
Dad’s offer had expired…five dollars was a “no show!”
At forty, I graduated and consecutively
started teaching and earning my masters degree.
Like my father before me, I say, “Don’t do as I do!”
Educating yourself is essential, but grades are important too!
Dad went back to school after I was grown.
He earned five doctorates…Who could have known?
Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia
Word to the Wise
If you are a student, please don’t do as I did! Or as my father did, either! Find the balance between earning good grades and educating yourself about the things you want to know. Take it from someone who learned the hard way…Grades and following your interests are both important!
Remember to be kind to your teachers. Karma may get you if you are rude to them! As a teacher in inner city schools, I got back a little bit of what was coming to me. So, if you are ever tempted to give your teachers a hard time, remember my advice, and don’t go there!