Guest Post: God Is a High School Chemistry Teacher
When I got to my senior year I chose to take chemistry because it was considered the most difficult of the AP science classes and so I figured I’d get it out of the way before college. Of course, that year, the old AP chem teacher decided to stop teaching AP chem and so Mrs. Youel took up the challenge.
It was a tough class. Our school was serious when it came to AP science classes: instead of an extra lab period twice a week, we had two periods of class every day. There were only 16 of us in the class and we worked hard, but also had some fun. Mrs. Youel had made up some cheesy pencils for us: “Youel like chemistry!” And she joked and bantered with us. We blew things up for Mole Day while at the same time hosting a Mole Day food drive for the local food bank. and at one point it was required that we memorize and sing the Tom Lehrer Element Song while pointing to each element on the periodic table for a grade.
I was generally a good student, and by the end of the first “semester” I was sporting a B+.
On the last day before winter break, Mrs. Youel told our class, “I know you all have worked really hard this semester, so if you want to come to me before you go home today and ask me to change your grade, you can.”
It took me a while to process that: did she just say that if I came by and said, “Hey I deserve an A,” she would give it to us? Coming from a background of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” I wasn’t sure what to make of it.
After school ended, I rushed over to the science wing of the school and waited. I was a little bit down the hall, not yet at the room; I wanted to see if any of my fellow students were going to take up this offer first. I stood there for 10 minutes (which is a lot in after-school time) and no one went to Mrs. Youel’s room. So I went.
I found Mrs. Youel cleaning up materials before the break and she greeted me and I said the customary hello.
“You said we could come in and change our grade?”
“I think I worked hard and should get an A.”
“I think so, too.”
And that was that. It was followed up with “Have a nice Christmas,” thanks yous, and goodbyes.
I am grateful to Mrs. Youel for not only a slightly higher GPA that term, but for one of the sweetest working examples I have of the Atonement in my life. I think that in the end, Judgment will not be a stressful, intense day, but a day of many wonderful surprises.