Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Grades are Earned, Not Punishment

Have you seen this?

Thanks: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2011/02/12/bad-grades-1960-vs-2010-cartoon/
This went around Facebook for a long time, a while ago.  And the other day I saw this link: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/01/why-teachers-secretly-hate-grading-papers/266931/ which is an article explaining why teachers don't like to grade papers.  The author gives six reasons that made sense to me.  Today I was reminded of reason 7: parents expect you to give them the grade they think their student deserves based on the effort that they see, not what the kid earned.

This is on my mind today because I had a parent rudely tell me today what I had done wrong with his student's grade.  I don't want to be negative about it, but I do want to say a few things that I feel like all parents need to hear.

Dear Frustrated Parent,

Teachers (the good ones) have expectations for their students.  They make these expectations very clear, and to a certain extent these expectations are common sense.  We are not out to "get" your student, and we have a lot of better things to do then to come up with ways to trick your student.

If your student leaves questions blank, they will be marked wrong.  If your student puts down on an inaccurate answer, it will be marked wrong.  If your student does not follow the expectations, their grade will go down despite what they might get on tests.  It can also happen that way even if they spend a lot of time on their assignment.  I am willing to work with your student to improve your grade, but that is tricky to do if your student does not come to class or ask for help. So, I am not punishing your child--I am simply trying to teach them that they EARN their grade and to put in effort in all of their assignments.

In addition, if you come to me to advocate for your student that is one thing. I am happy to discuss that with you, because we both want what is best for your student. However, if you come to argue about what you think should be right instead of having an open mind about what might be my perspective, that is just insulting.  We don't blame doctors for the diagnosis they give us, and tell them it is their fault we are dying.  Why are you doing it to me? Please just let me do my job.



1 comment:

K. Shelton said...

Thanks for posting this. I deal with this garbage ALL the time. To make matters even worse, less than 5% of the parents even bother to read my syllabus and grading policy. Add to that both of them are posted online and easily accessible. I think this will hav to reach a tipping point before you see a backlash and parents backing off. The increasing emphasis on test scores and our pay being tied to those will only make this worse.