As the first quarter comes to a close, I find myself stopped in the hallway by students who are looking for an increase in their grade. The majority of these students have shown that they understand the standards and concepts and have C's, B's or even A's to prove it. But for some of these students, anything less than an A plus is a sign of failure. Today I had a discussion today with one of my classes about the meaning of success. For them, success meant getting into a good college (top ranking) and having a high paying job as an adult. They were surprised that even top-ranking Harvard accepts students who haven't made all A's and having a perfect SAT score isn't required to get into Yale (below I have linked an article "Why a Perfect SAT Score Can Keep You Out of Harvard"). Colleges and universities are looking for students who are creative and have a passion for learning (not just remembering). School is about so much more than what your grade is on a test or report card. Unfortunately for most students grades are still apart of the equation, but as a teacher, I strive to help my students develop those soft skills (organization, time management, the ability to have a discussion, etc.) that will help them be genuinely successful human beings. I work to engage my students in more discussion about the importance that should or should not be attached to grades. I want my students to be lifelong learners not forever grade attainers.
For the second quarter, I am implementing a required sign up a system for students wanting to meet about grade concerns. My hope is twofold with this one that this system will require students to stop and think about any request for grade adjustments and two when we do meet I will have more opportunities to discuss the relative unimportance of grades.
A teacher from the United States of America, currently teaching abroad. I teach science to middle and high school students. I enjoy reading and doing nerd things.