It’s hard to believe another school year is almost over and HSC* marking is on again, for those who are sadistic enough to mark it 😉. It is as they say, though; truly some of the best professional development you’ll ever have and it does make you a better teacher, at least with your senior level students.
I’ve always be really interested in ‘concept of self as a learner’ psychology. You know, the ideas that you have about your ability to learn, and pass tests. There’s a lot of research under the bridge about it, which I won’t explore here, but I do find it quite fascinating. In short, (and this is really summarising it) if you’re told that you’re ‘good’, you will be ‘good’ in your exams. There’s a lot of influence that teachers can have, all throughout the lives of their students, whether they intend it or not.
This always concerns me when I mark: whether it be school-based exams, NAPLAN or the HSC – and rightly so.
The Bible says not many of us should presume to become teachers, because we will be judged more strictly. Now, this is referring to being teachers of The Bible, and not a teacher in a school or university.
But why will they be judged more strictly? I think it’s for a whole range of reasons, including the fact that they have a position of power. When you have power, you have influence and that can be used for good or evil. You have the position and power to declare things about God and about other people.
Sometimes we declare things about people and God that are right. Other times they are wrong. Sometimes it’s deliberate. Other times it’s accidental.
As I see it, this leads to a battle between justice and judgement.
Justice is fair and reasonable. Justice occurs when the truth is told and the right perception prevails. Justice in the Church means we have a clear picture of ourselves: individually, collectively and in relation to God.
Judgement, when passed on by another human being, can be crippling. When God judges us, it is just; but when we judge others, it is highly likely to be flawed.
Flawed judgements can ruin people. Flawed judgements can lead to people having a skewed idea of God, skewed idea of themselves and perhaps leaving the Church and faith entirely.
This is why getting assessments of others right is critically important: it all comes back to the perception of the self.
Marking the HSC and getting the score right is something that I take seriously. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong mark, nor the wrong impression of themselves in an educational setting. No teacher does. Yet, how much more important it is that I ensure I always endeavour to give other people the right perception of themselves in the eyes of God.
I don’t always get my marks right (just ask my senior marker) and I don’t always get my assessments of others right because no one does. Yet I need to be prayerful and work hard to do as well as I can here, because there’s a lot more at stake when it comes to God than a test result on a piece of paper.
Yours in aiming for justice,
* Higher School Certificate: the matriculation examinations in my state