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Sunday, February 12, 2017

I hate grades

Silver linings are my thing.

Seriously, this blog.

The world is making it hard to be positive.

But I persist.

Today is an example.

Grades closed for progress reports yesterday.

A lot of kids are failing.

Like, a lot a lot. Like almost half.

Actually, the numbers are pretty depressing.

But I know they aren't a true reflection of learning.

A project due Friday means loads of zeros.

Teenagers suck at turning things in on time.

Plus, it's about Romeo and Juliet and kids hate Shakespeare early on.

A week from now, the grades, and the negativity, will have largely shifted.

In the meantime, kids are mad, sad, upset, about said grades.

Some try to blame me.

As if I gift them with a grade unrelated to any of their choices.

Own it, boys and girls, you earn you grade.

The only thing I "give" you is the benefit of the doubt when you screw up.

I have reminded them repeatedly that I am required to call home for all Ds and Fs.

Then I point out the following:

I can call home and give their peeps the bad news...

or I can call home and tell their peeps how much the grade in question has already improved.

At first, they kind of look at me funny.

As what I am saying sinks in, I get some pretty silly questions.

Things like "Can I still turn this in?" or "Wait, is this work time for our project?"

I try not to roll my eyes. I succeed most of the time.

After that, when I redirect, I remind them how much I would rather say "The grade on so-and-so's progress report is actually a B now."

Maybe because I really really mean that or maybe because I always say such things with a smile, but I get smiles and work in response.

I hate grades.

I hate our grading system.

It has so little to do with actual learning or progress or mastery.

But positive responses and a willingness to put forth some effort to improve are darn near priceless.

Finding ways to elicit such responses is always a good thing!

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