Keeping Score

Economy/Participation Trophies

In the sports world, we begin instilling the love of sports (or winning… or maybe just getting something shiny because we showed up) by celebrating every kid on our team.   We have some kind of banquet or dessert or party & every kid who played (or tried) gets a trophy.   To be honest, this makes me a little crazy…  celebrating people for breathing is not my style… BUT I see the value in celebrating our children for their effort.  And that doesn’t mean we don’t coach them, but we don’t bury them in criticism either.   Why don’t we do this in our schools?   Not mindless celebration because our students took in oxygen this week, but really celebrate their efforts and strengths?

In under 2 weeks, I have given my 8th graders 2 required benchmark tests…  and the ACT Explore… and next week, they are required to take the Kuder test to begin planning for college/career…   Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy!   No wonder our students (more and more) dislike school.   During our benchmarks, created by some entity without our school system & therefore not necessarily reflective of what I have actually taught this 9-weeks and occasionally seeming to intentionally confuse them (6 questions on the same passage about 3 different possible themes), My students got immediate feedback…   and this is good… BUT (you knew that was coming, right) most of my students (and the school) left feeling stupid & ready to give up.   

Testing can be good.. it gives me an idea of what I need to go back and reteach… but too much discourages our children.  And discouraged children give up…. on the next test, on school, on life.   We need to find ways to celebrate our children & get them to understand that even though the test is important… it’s not the end of the world.  

This is my message as much as anything this week….  

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