Jeff's world had changed. No longer was he a little junior high boy. He had made it into a new school. Things were going to be different; things were going to be better. He needed change.
Jeff took a deep breath as he excitedly looked around the classroom from his front row seat. Finally the fresh start he needed! He was going to succeed and thrive.
The bushy-haired teacher turned around and silenced the chatter. "Welcome to your first day as 9th graders. I am Mr. Wish, and since we will be together all year, I think we should get to know one another. Let's start here." He pointed to the student next to Jeff. The young girl promptly reported her name. Then the teacher pointed to the next student and so on until they had all given their names.
"Very good, " said the teacher. "Now I'm sure you're all anxious to know what you should expect."
Jeff sat up a little straighter. He knew his hard work would pay off this year. He would make it to the top, and he would make his parents proud.
"I have developed a new system by which I will be grading your work."
Jeff leaned forward in his seat so as not to miss a word.
"I believe in fair and equal opportunity, so we will help each other. Each test or paper will be matched up with another student's work and the two grades will be averaged together for the final grade."
Jeff saw the same confusion in the girl's eyes next to him that he felt. She tentatively raised her hand.
"Yes?" the teacher called on her.
"Do we get to choose which student we are paired up to work with?"
"Absolutely not. The highest grade will be matched with the lowest grade. The second highest with the second lowest. The third highest and the third lowest. You get the idea."
A shocked silence filled the room. Jeff exchanged horrified looks with the students around him, but a few cheers arose from the back row. With a satisfied nod, the teacher began the lesson for the day, but Jeff couldn't concentrate on the lesson. He couldn't grasp the fact that no matter how hard he worked or how much he studied, his grade would be taken away and averaged with another student who may never have cared to study as hard as he was willing to study.
His shoulders drooped forward as his eyes glazed over. He slouched lower in his seat. Everything the teacher said went in one ear and out the other. But he didn't care. Tomorrow he would sit in the back row.
Written by Rachael Nicole
Concept by Dave P. Davies