Listen & Follow Instructions


My name is Taylor O’Toole, and I’m writing to other kids like me. I want them to learn from my mistake, so here is my story:

I am often stubborn and feel that I know what’s the best thing to do. This causes lots of frustration with others, because of my bad attitude. My mom and dad always warn me that my listening skills need improvement, or I’ll keep getting into trouble, you see. This time I made the choice to not listen again, and the consequences really cost me.

Last week at school, my teacher, Miss Bates, told the class we were about to receive an assignment and a test. She told us to read a certain book carefully, as the exam wouldn’t be multiple guess.

I had already read parts of the book over the summer, so I saw no need to read it twice. I decided to play instead of read, and so I ignored my teacher’s advice.

My parents also encouraged me to read to ensure I was well prepared for the upcoming test. However, my attitude got in the way of listening again, because I figured I knew best.

When the day of the book exam came, I felt certain I could remember all that I had read months before. I felt smug, and believed I’d receive a very high score. I quickly realized I didn’t know how to answer the first question before my eyes. This came as a shock, a truly terrible surprise.

I read over the other questions on the exam, hoping to find one I could answer easily. However, I could not, and it became clear my choices to not listen and follow directions had finally caught up with me.

Miss Bates looked sad when I handed her my test, where the only thing I’d written was my name. I’ll never forget how bad it felt to return to my desk, as my cheeks burned with shame.

Because I didn’t listen, I failed the test. I got myself into trouble, as I really didn’t know best. I should have read the book cover to cover, just like my teacher and parents told me to. Now, I must face the consequences, which is very hard to do.

My teacher and my parents decided that I would not be able to retake the exam, as that wouldn’t be fair to my studious classmates. There would also be no extra credit given to me by Miss Bates. The reality is without a retake or extra credit, my grade will go down a whole letter. There is nothing that can be done to make this situation better.

So if any of you reading this find yourselves not wanting to listen and follow instructions, I urge you to do so anyway. Remember my story to prevent something similar from happening to you someday.


Taylor O’Toole