More Than Just A Grade

I was working on interim’s today for my students. As I looked at the grades and comments it got me thinking about the educational process and grading. Our students do not get the A,B,C,D or F grade, they get a +, v, I, or N. As I began to reflect on previous years of teaching I got to thinking. I have placed many I’s in the grade book for my students. An I is not a bad thing, but in the competitive world we live in it is just mediocre. But when a student struggles and works so hard for that I, are they really just mediocre?

I think sometimes it is the effort and growth that matters more than the actual grade. I know a lot of very intelligent “book smart” students who can get high grades with little effort.  I know many students who struggle due to poor environmental factors, language barriers, or lack of any academic support at home; who should be so proud of that I. It is a quandary for sure. We need both kinds of students and everyone in between in this world. The work force needs hardworking conscientious workers in every profession.

What about that 40 year old woman who finally ran 3 miles and is so proud of her accomplishment, do we look down on her because she did not run a 26 mile marathon? What about the overweight mother of 3 who lost 65 pounds and fought the weight battle everyday for a year, do we think, well if she just lost 30 more she would look better? When is enough enough?

So many people suffer from depression or anxiety today. If these people get up, get showered, dressed, and to work on time with a smile on their faces; that might be their marathon. We have to quit being so demeaning all the time as a society. I see victories every day and these victories really matter.

Do you remember the Rio Olympics? All of the athletes worked hard, trained hard, sacrificed a lot, and deserve recognition for their athletic ability, deep motivational spirits, and extraordinary efforts. ALL of them. I adore Michael Phelps and think he is truly athletically gifted beyond most, however, for some Olympians one gold medal was enough, why was there always that comparison to him and his 20+ medals?

You know not every child is going to be a neurosurgeon, an accomplished violinist, a marathon runner, or a well known financial guru with his/her face plastered on the front of every magazine. Maybe we just need to help nurture each child’s unique gifts, appreciate their differences, celebrate their victories, and help them feel like someone important. Isn’t that what we strive for in education; not just a grade but a love of learning and a desire to always want to do more while being proud of each accomplishment along the way?

I tell my students that God does not make junk. He made us all to do great things. If you give it your best then be proud of that and be thankful everyday because no one is just like you and that is a pretty awesome thing.

1 Comment

  1. Perfectly said!

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