** A post I wrote back in December**
This past Thursday and Friday were my parent-teacher interviews. What a long night Thursday turned out to be. The interviews are scheduled in 15 minute increments but my last one went on for 45 minutes! We were finally done when the dad said, “Ok, let’s let her go home” and the wife finally stopped talking (at 9:30pm). Friday the interviews were during the day, but again the last one I had lasted for 45 minutes.
The one thing that pisses me off about parents is when they tell me that their child is working so hard that they should’ve gotten an A. First off, this is the first term of Grade 1. Up until now, these kids have been in school for half days where the majority of the time was spent eating snacks or playing with toys in their centres. This is a big adjustment for the kids. Not only do they now stay in school for the entire day, but they are actually required to do seatwork for the majority of the time as opposed to playing with toys (I know this may sound like I’m over-generalizing but it’s what I see).
I’m a pretty tough marker. But at the same time I am fair. I will give an A if I know that it was well-earned. I know of teachers who will not give a child an A on their report card in the first term because it doesn’t give them anything to work towards. I don’t necessarily agree with that. If a child is CONSISTENTLY doing well, then I will give them an A without question because I have no reason to do otherwise and would not be able to justify this to a parent. However, their work needs to be CONSISTENT which is something that most parents can’t grasp for the life of them. I had a parent say to me that her little boy is trying so hard and why hasn’t he gotten an A and bla bla bla. I can sympathize with parents wanting their child to do well, but if they don’t get an A, I hate looking like the bad guy (which for some parents it ends up happening). I mean it’s one thing that someone works hard, but it’s another thing to be dishonest in giving grades that are not earned. If I could I would give straight A’s to all of my students but it doesn’t work that way and it’s not fair to the student.
The hard thing about teaching younger grades is that you are trying to build and instill good working-habits for them that they can use when they are older. I mean I don’t consider the students who get the A’s to be the only successful ones. The students who are continuously showing me growth in their strengths are the ones that I celebrate the most. These are the kids who need the encouragement the most. The one’s who may get the C’s are the one’s that I am most proud of because they struggled to get that grade.
Parents need to get it out of their heads that an A = success. If a child doesn’t get an A on a report card (especially in grade 1), it’s OK. The most important thing they are learning is the thing that cannot be measured. They are learning work habits that will hopefully be carried with them throughout their lives.