When students perform better

Almost all of my students in CS 11 this sem are my students in the same subject last sem. I have students whom, to be honest, the mother in me silently cheering for. I kindly look at them as one of my own. I saw them failed last sem, and actually – and I wish I could just change my spreadsheet and give them a passing mark. But that is not how it works. And I know, it is better to get a failing grade than to pass because of some hokus-pokus.

I finished checking their 2nd exam tonight. And my heart is really happy, because some of them never passed an exam (since last sem) until today. Plus, some of them was able to get perfect scores on item/s that most wasn’t able to answer. I was like “OMG! **** was able to answer this!”, “He/She did great!”, “Wow! This is his/her best score!”, “He/She passed! He/She passed!”.

I saw them perform better. I saw them enjoying. I saw them try harder, work harder. I saw that there is more curiosity and hunger for learning this time than the last time. I saw the determination. I’m not sure if it is because this is their second take and that somehow they are now familiar with the topic, with the environment, or with the way I give exams or exercise. It could also be because they have adapted to college life. Could be because they are more motivated. I don’t know. What I know is, I am happy. Happy to witness their hard work and determination. Happy to see most of them shine. I silently cheer for them on every activity. I smile inside when they were able to solve a problem. I cheer the loudest in my head when they are just a few lines of code away. I look at last sem’s spreadsheet and compare their grades now, and it is much better. Happy that most of them are performing way better than before. Happy that to most of them, things are brighter and clearer now. Happy that I get to know them better too.

I still cheer for them. I cheer for them to pass this course. I cheer for them on the remaining 2 activities (Hands-on exam and MP2). I cheer for them to pass their other subjects. I cheer for them.

Sadly, some of them are still on the edge, and I wish I could just give them a 3 this time. The teacher in me (and the mother in me) can see that some of them is really not for this course. That something somewhere is meant for them. That they are failing not because they can’t, but because this is not the battle they should be fighting. That you can’t just put a runner on a boxing ring against the boxing champ and hope that the runner will win. Nor can you force a chess player to win against a sumo wrestler on a wrestling match. Maybe, maybe this is not for them to win.

I wish that after this sem, if they haven’t yet, they will find the path they really want to take; the course they really want to pursue. I wish that after this, they will be stronger, more confident. I wish that if this is yet another failure, they will know that this is nothing but still a beginning. That they can start again. That this is nothing in five or ten years from now. That the life lessons are more important than a number we call grade.