Tonight I failed my first student. It wasn’t the first time I gave an “F”, but it is the first time a student altogether failed one of my courses. As a professor, this breaks my heart. As the person responsible for the transferal of knowledge, I hold this one infamous character, the “F”, as a failing mark on my own instruction. I wear it as the scarlet letter on my chest. I will continue to reflect on what I could have done or what I could have said to help this student stay motivated and to successfully complete my course.
As I’m approaching my 3rd year teaching, I hope this will be the last time I come face-to-face with that loathsome [be it dreadful] letter.
In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it.
/Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter