We stood on the railings discussing the just concluded exam. I asked them about a particular subject, Nnenna scored 51/60 while her friend scored 33/60.
Her friend was deeply disappointed. From her point of view, she prepared thoroughly for the exams. In the class she was attentive. She felt she knew the subject matter yet her result didn't correspond to the effort meted out.
She had no idea what the teacher wants nor what she didn't do right.
I knew they were many more like her nursing a wounded heart on account of their result.
I told her to meet the teacher in question and have a honest to God/fact finding discussion as to how her best wasn't good enough - what did the questions require of her, where she got it all wrong and have to improve on.
Even as they left me, I knew she wouldn't meet him. Not because she doesn't want to, she may never muster the courage. She will be scared of what the teacher might say to her - how disappointed he or she is in her result.
Not everybody has what it takes to receive criticism. Nnenna's friend has disappointed herself and I would be wise not to stoke the flame of self pity and disappointment.
Can't I (the teacher) stay my lips from passing judgment, take on a curious mind and try to know what went wrong from their point of view?