When I was but a child, numbers and letters defined you,
The alphabet's first six, their percentage needed to pass.
A,B,C,D, and the worst, an F, rated all of your work then,
Each day we spent in school, and in every subject's class.
If only the teachers could understand, how it made me feel,
The D's and F's posted on my sheet were all a very big deal.
I felt so humiliated and ill at ease, while sitting in my own row,
Not wanting your grade plastered, all the classmates to know.
The worst of all were the numbers, 59's and those sixties,
In biggest red numbers, all so posted on a page's corner.
The embarrassment of it all was more than a child to bear,
Made you feel like a loser, a reading of "Little Jack Horner".
"You almost passed this time", she wrote, boldly on a page,
If she knew just how I did feel, my holding in of all my rage.
We all laughed out loud when her chalk she had dropped,
Bald spots revealed in her red hair, laughter never stopped.
I would have dreams of flying away from that school,
Way up in the sky, in my own balloon, no more a fool.
One day I knew, somehow, I'd overcome those grades,
Make my own standard of passing, no more charades.
I did succeed and went on to college, was challenged,
Made the passing marks and to graduate, I managed.
Then I became a teacher of children in need, I adored,
Never giving one a red mark, all passing, this I scored.
Words of kindness and all of the support is needed,
Were found by me to see that all had so succeeded.
Never again I had pledged, no child to be distraught,
Those years as a teacher, their successes I sought.
Letters, numbers scribbled on a page, so demeaning,
Positive approaches to each child's needs, a meaning.
As everyone has special ways to succeed in learning,
The instilling of self-esteem, their happiness, yearning.