Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2019 >Daily Dispatch #345

December 14, 2019: The Harder they Fall

I’ve been told that the test of true resiliency is this – when you’re knocked down, the length of time that it takes you to get back up, dust yourself off, and continue on. Some just pop back up, like Weeble wobble dolls. Me, I tend to grovel in the dust for some time, waiting for someone to come and pick me up. No one has ever done this. And no one will ever do this. So quite often, I get tired of lying there, and rise to my feet.

I have come up short on most things that I’ve taken on. The list is too long to recount. What bothers me is that today was no exception. Point blank, I failed four of six of my practical scenarios. This was after months of practice and studying.

Hrimmi striking out on her own
Hrimmi striking out on her own

I could, here, focus on the fact that there were inequities in the evaluative system. This is always the case when putting objective criteria to practice. But on my part, I again took on the stress of my peers. Prior to being tested individually we were all like deer in the headlights, this with perhaps the exception of what we called “the boy group,” a group of four post adolescent males who bonded early in the semester and worked together. One was moved to my group, but as quick as he could, he moved back to his original group.

After being evaluated by the proctors, paramedic students, I repeatedly returned to the classroom, the gathering place, and was told by my teacher that I had failed, one, two, three times. Fail four times I’d was told, and you got kicked out of the ballpark, meaning the game was over.

Hmmm. I tried, after failure one and two, to use an analogy – I’ve heard said that the best stadium jumping equestrians are those who look to the next jump. But gosh, I soon found myself on a roll – the poles just came crashing down around me. And so it became increasingly more impossible to look ahead. I was glad it was just a six jump course. If there had been any more jumps, I would have just crashed through them.

Finally, the head proctor, a large woman who exemplified the term “bean counter,” called me out in the hall and handed me a pink slip. She was itching to tell me what I’d failed and how I might go about retaking the practical tests I’d missed. Her itch had been made more palpable by the fact that earlier, she’d suggested that we listen to music, specifically Christmas carols on the computer. I told her no, I would like to have the room quiet.

I said to her that no, I didn’t want to hear it. I had had enough. So with paper in hand, I walked back into the classroom and stuffed my pink slip in my backpack. It was like being the first person booted out of an episode of “Survivor.” My classmates, that is the four boy group members and remaining 12 test takers, watched me leave the room with unfeigned curiosity.

I went to the library, and while waiting for Pete, read a book about reenvisioning the scientific model – the focus on the chapters I read were on John Dewey’s contribution in this area. Dewey, if he were still alive, he would have made the learning and evaluative process more equitable. Instead, he was left to roll in his grave.

I sometimes envision myself as a Jack Russell terrier who altogether too often takes on pit bulls. But this small dog did win one battle this semester. Our passes and failures did not get posted on the large computer screen. I was glad of this because I would have died a thousand deaths had my classmates seen my fail grades go up. And the same may have held true of others. So, the one thing I did of consequence was alert the teacher and powers that be that posting grades publicly is a violation of FERPA laws, which are in place to protect student privacy, specifically in relation to grades and grading.

Next: 346. 12/15/19: A Visit with Sarah

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles