Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Fri, 1 Oct 1993

I called Tommy last week. I wanted to see if he had signed up for that drama or communications course. He hadn't. I wasn't surprised. He told me that his adviser wouldn't agree. He had to take another accounting course. When I asked why hadn't he ignored his adviser and telephone registered by himself, he said he had talked with his parents and they had agreed with the adviser. So, as he said, "I just went along."

"You knew what you had to do. You have to start taking control of your own future," I told him with a sadness in my voice.

A day or two later, I received a letter from Tommy arguing his case for a better grade. Portions of it went like this:

Evan (sic) though I did learn a lot about history and learned to be more responsible, I think I missed one of the main points of the class, and that was to stand up and be more aggressive and to not be afraid to say what you feel. When I first got my grade I was really ticked off. I knew that history, but when I talked to you on the phone I realized that you have to go after what you want and you just can't sit around and expect a grade. I have to stop being afraid of being wrong if I'm ever going to do anything that's right. I guess I just didn't trust anyone in my triad or you. I guess I thought your class would be like the rest of the classes that I had before. But, you were the first teacher who has seen me in class even though I tried to hide by being quiet. You moved around in class and looked at me. That scared me even though I never told you. You thought more of me than I did of myself, more than my adviser or parents. Like I said, I thought this was just another class only with chairs moved around and a weird teacher, but I found I was wrong and it was a different kind of learning experience in more ways than just history. I've given this a lot of thought and I've learned a lot about myself even though it was after the quarter was over....You might not realize it but you've helped me a lot in my future classes and you will never see me sitting around in class even if it causes a fight. The teacher will know I'm there! Thanks for caring.

I called Tommy soon after I read the letter. "You see I really learned something," he said about my attitude. "I'm going to take that drama course next quarter. I'm going to take a chance in my classes and start believing. Now can I get a better grade?"

"No," I said. "Talking is easy; it's walking that's tough. But, this is what I will do. You take your classes for the next two quarters. I'll talk with the professors. If what you say isn't bull shit, I'll call it 'effort and performance after the fact.' And, then, I'll change your grade."

"That's fair enough. You watch!"

"Good luck, and I'm here if you need an ear or a shoulder. Have a good one."

"You, too. And thanks again."

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)
Department of History                      /~\    /\ /\
Valdosta State University          /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
Valdosta, Georgia 31698           /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

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