Challenging your Teacher’s Grade


Challenging your Teacher’s Grade

A previous article in this series, Teaching school in Old Nairobi, was written by Anne Cutler. Anne and her husband Alan Cutler, were schoolteachers at a school I attended in Nairobi over 40 years ago. In fact, Alan was my class teacher and he eventually was upgraded to headmaster (school principal) of the school.

How do teachers make it more likely that students will discuss concerns about grades and discuss them constructively?

 — Maryellen Weimer, PhD

Below, is a staff photograph of Anne and Alan back in 1972 when I was a student:


Anne, seated, front, 4th from left; Alan, standing, back, 5th from left

Although I was fond of Alan as my teacher, I was slightly miffed when he gave me an ‘A-Minus’ rather than a ‘Straight A’ at my end of year school report.

Below, is my year-end school report with schoolteacher Alan Cutler’s grades for English, History, Geography, Nature Study and Science:


The A-Minus Grade for English that Mr. Cutler gave me in 1972.

Recently, I read an article by Maryellen Weimer, PhD in ‘Teaching and Learning‘ entitled The ‘I Deserve a Better Grade on This’ Conversation:

Click here for ‘I Deserve a Better Grade on This’ article (March 12, 2013).

Whether you’re the teacher or the student, it’s not in either party’s interest to back down.

— Maryellen Weimer, PhD

After reading Professor Weimer’s article I immediately contacted Mr. Cutler and petitioned him to upgrade my A-Minus grade. Below is Mr. Cutler’s response to me.


Dear Karim,

It gives me great pleasure to award you the attached prestigious certificate.


I feel sure that you will feel it necessary to have the certificate framed and proudly displayed in a closed closet.

Yours very sincerely,

Mr. A. T. Cutler


PS – apologies for the delay but I had to have approval from Nairobi City Council, the Kenya Union of Teachers, the Canadian Ministry of Education, the Canadian Teacher’s Federation, The British Columbia Ministry of Education and Public Affairs, the B.C. Teacher’s College, The British Columbia Teacher’s Federation, the Cowichan District Teachers Association and Anne Cutler