Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Grades They Deserve

I do not use grades as rewards or punishment. I also do not punish or reward my own kids for their grades. Our culture has become too focused on grading at all levels: students, teachers, and schools. A friend and parent of one of my students posted the following on Facebook:
, please give my kids the grades they deserve. Don't go easy on them. If they turn their homework in late, give them consequences. It will help them in the end. Please don't hesitate to tell me if they aren't being respectful in class, and don't hesitate to call them on any ungodly behavior.
While I appreciate the encouragement, I'd like to remind parents that THEY are the greatest influence in their child's life and education. A student sits in my class for a mere three hours and 24 minutes each week. And so far this quarter, we've had only one week that has not had any interruptions such as fire drills, special assemblies, or practices that take students away from the classroom. That means each student has spent less than 30 hours in my class the entire grading period!

The precious little time in the classroom cannot be spent raising YOUR child. I find that students are panicked and stressed to the point of immobility and often about grades. These kids have so much on their plate, they are overwhelmed. There are too many distractions.

Parents, give them consequences. Or better yet, teach them the art of self denial. There is no reason for teens to take AP courses, play sports and work a job; that's too much and it's usually the academics that suffer. Don't let your teen drink a 32 oz Mountain Dew before school. Don't let them sleep with their phone, texting and playing games at all hours. Reduce the distractions, remove the obstacles that prevent your child from doing their best on the most important task at hand: their education.