This is the last day of my essays in shame. I was secretly hoping to transform myself, to shed my shame through writing about it; for mistake-free me to lay down her arms and melt into me like we were two drops of water and for the new waterdrop, the new larger and more united person, to dance in the streets and tell the truth always. Or at least that shame would become less compelling to me, less of a compulsion and a draw.
None of this happened. I was methodical, and earnest, and met the commitments I made. For that, I give students in graded classes a B. I tell them, "B from me is a good grade. It means you did everything I asked you to." What I give them an A for is moving beyond what I asked them to do into a new insight, or a harder question, or a greater degree of complexity. This almost only ever happens when they care about the thing they're doing, itself, with the grade, the outside judgment, as a pleasant side effect. They have to attach their worries, their excitement and even their standards and judgments, to their actions--what they do to make the the thing, and how it comes out--rather than their invisible intentions and clamorous selves.