Sunday, February 12, 2017
I hate grades
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!