Saturday, July 21, 2007
The zero that made a difference
I went through the GCE system in school (the good old GCE not iG or whatever). You can do exams in any subject you want, and the school encourages every student to sit for exams in all the subjects that the school provides.
Many students dropped religious studies, biology and English literature. I insisted on doing the first two, but when it came to English literature I was a bit hesitant. I knew my English sucked and besides that I had to read Shakespeare and a few other plays and novels.
I had a intelligent teacher, Dr. Nouha Homad, who was very pleasant and also had a PhD degree from the Sorbonne. I thought I'd give it a shot.
The grades kept coming, I was an "A' student in school but now I was getting 0.5/15 (that's half out of fifteen), 20/100, and so on. I was still an "A' student because those were among the best scores in class.
Once I wrote an essay about the Merchant of Venice. I thought it was a great one, at least I expected to pass, but I got a zero.
A big zero.
I went to talk to her.
"Hey Miss Nouha, shu hada?"
"Let me see"
She took my paper and started re-reading.
Then she looked at me and pointed to sentence I've written at the end. "Because of this", she said.
I read the sentence carefully, it said ".... because Shakespeare is a great writer"
I was surprised because I knew she respected Shakespeare.
"What's wrong with this sentence?"
"You said that Shakespeare was a great writer!!"
"Ok, what is wrong with that?"
She was a bit surprised at the question, the she smiled at me and said, "You can't judge Shakespeare honey"
So I was certain I would miserably fail if I would take the official GCE test so I dropped the exam. I still owe Homad lots of respect for her zeroes.
Next week, all the losers (me included) who had dropped out brought hummus , falafel and shaay and enjoyed a good breakfast in the literature class.