A friend of mine was disappointed that I posted my son's grade on Facebook even though it was 85%, which is a C at his school. Her reasoning behind it was that it could embarrass him and make him feel inferior. WHOA...pump those brakes!!! My kid may feel a whole lot of things, but inferior 'aint' one of them! Nevertheless, I understand and respect her point of view and hopefully she feels the same about mine. I don't only want friends who agree with me, I want friends who sometimes disagree also. But damn why should 85% on one test make a kid feel inferior? My reason for posting was to share my bewilderment of him getting 85% on an open book test. I assumed it would have been an easy A. Luckily, I did share because I received some awesome advise from my village. One in particular came from my childhood friend, Isele. Her advise was so outstanding that it MUST be shared with my college kids.
The thing that struck my attention the most was my friend's reaction to 85% and the gasp in her voice when I told her that my kids have failed...yes failed quizzes and tests before. I heard this phrase recently 'progress not perfection'... Denzel used it in the movie Equalizer. Boy he sure was amazing in that movie! But I digress. Where was I? O yes failed tests. If my kids fail to prepare, the outcome should reflect that. It doesn't mean that my kids are failures or that my approach fosters mediocrity. It means that they need to be more responsible in their execution and favorable results will emerge. It is my belief that they must learn that on their own with us, the parents, as their guide.
We teach them to be responsible for their actions, both positive and not so positive. Once they're old enough, if they have an issue with a teacher, they must learn to deal with it (with our guidance of course). I remember my older son felt that his Math teacher made a mistake when grading his test in 6th grade. He came home and showed us that she made a mistake. I told him that he needs to go to her so that she could make the correction. Naturally, he was very nervous. He thought that by going to his teacher, he would be considered disrespectful. It's all about the approach. His teacher was very kind to him and made the adjustment.That single act, boosted his confidence. He had similar experiences in HS and College and knew exactly how to handle each situation. My daughter came home from HS one day and expressed how disturbed she was about a teacher snapping his fingers at her to get her attention. She waited until class was over, approached him and respectfully expressed that snapping his fingers at her was disrespectful. He apologized. Also, if she did poorly on a test, she went to her teachers for guidance which they loved and she would ace the consecutive tests. She understood that her preparation or lack thereof, yielded different results. In the real world, we make mistakes and fail at times. Our kids need to understand that 'progress, not perfection' is what is expected. They must learn at a young age that they will make mistakes and fail at times but should always learn from them.
It is my hope that parents do not use grades and awards to determine their children's value, success and worth. If your kid feels badly about a grade, that means he knows that he has the ability to do better. Talk with her and offer your advise. If not, talk with your child and perhaps he would express that he did his best or he just didn't like the class or teacher and didn't care (I've heard those before). Talk with your kids, dig a little deeper, listen and help them to navigate a solution.
As for me, no one can make me feel like 85% is a bad thing and thanks to my friend, I'm no longer perplexed about open book tests. It takes a village and I love and appreciate mine.....even if some are reached only through social media. Be kind, be honest, be supportive and embrace your journey.