This is a bit of a weird post. It doesn’t really fit in a category anywhere. But every so often, I remember this thing that happened to me, get irrationally mad about something that doesn’t affect me anymore, and then forget about it again.
So, here it is. And there’s a lesson in it for you. And for me, too.
In sixth form, I took English Literature as an As level. We read Jane Eyre, and part of the coursework was to rewrite a scene from a different characters point of view. I chose the scene where Jane comes back to the house, and (I’m pretty sure this is what happened, but it was a while ago now and I don’t remember exactly) the housekeeper finds out about her marriage with Mr Rochester. There’s a bit in the real life actual book where Jane mentions she’s trying not to cry or there are tears in her eyes or something along those lines, and so, in my interpretation, when I was writing from the point of view of the housekeeper, I noted how Jane looked like she was going to cry.
And so I completed my work, submitted it, and then it came to getting it back. And I got a D. This was, and I think still is, my only D. And I was devastated.
And I wish I’d said something to my teacher who marked it (only a sample of the class’ work got sent off to assess if the marking the teacher had done was accurate) because one of the comments on my work was something along the lines of ‘do you really think Jane would be crying? Has she not proven herself to be stronger than that?’
It was in the book! Jane said it herself! My teachers comment was something like I hadn’t really understood the character. I wish that little 16 year old me had had the confidence in herself and in her work to talk to my teacher about it. To appeal that maybe she rereads the chapter and have some idea what it is she’s marking.
But I didn’t. I let it slide, and was gutted, and went to the exam, did actually really well, and came out with an overall C. I dropped English lit after As level. I think I would have done that anyway, despite my grade, and my bad experience. But I also think I lost some of my confidence in writing and in doing English, simply because my teacher had simply made a mistake or misunderstood something.
So this is my message to you. If you believe you did something right, or good, not just in your studies but in life in general, stand up for it! The worst that can happen is that you see someone else’s viewpoint on the matter and come away with a better understanding of the thing as a whole. Be brave and say ‘what I did was good work’ and maybe it will actually make a difference.