There is a bit of a debate when it comes to those instant grades, you know, where parents can peer into their kids school grades any day any time and get the whole scoop. There are some parents who highly like this option and some parents who highly dislike it. When it comes to me, I am on the dislike side. The advantage in this case of disliking, is that I simply don’t need to use it. No harm, no foul. No need to care about it too much, right?
That’s about how it went for me until I met a few moms who really loved the system. They were wild about it. In a sense it gave them some place to go and something specifically to do on the vast and ever changing internet. It reeled them in like Twitter and Facebook and email and all those ever changing places to go and things to do. There’s so many places to go on the internet that sometimes you don’t even know where to go. And our kids constant grades was an easy save to favorites.
After all, don’t we want the smartest kids in the world? And isn’t it our duty to snap them into shape and make sure every grade is near perfect? Wow if we can watch all this throughout the day, we can meet them at the door when they get home and go over all that with them. What a wondrous invention. We can drive our kids crazy. And ourselves as well.
The reason I am personally opposed to the system is the way I felt about grades. I got beat up enough over those things, I didn’t need them hanging over my head on a daily basis. And the thing that tips the whole deal is that you see every grade for every aspect, not just the average grade of it all. Average is good enough for me, I don’t want to worry over the details. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted my parents worrying over the details.
School does enough to squish the creativity right out of us. It shoots us through that giant tunnel of right and wrong with no space for what if in between. That just did not go well with my nature. Even when my daughter volunteered me (because I don’t work during the day, ha) to grade papers in her class every Friday, I was a mess. I looked at those questions, saw where the student was going with it, and thought well they have a good point, they aren’t all wrong here, so how can I mark them wrong. How do teachers do it? I will tell you, the kids in that class always did well on Fridays!
The other reason I don’t care for snap grades is that my kids are good. They like school. They like to do well. They take pride in achievement in school. I don’t know how they got that way. Maybe we did something miraculous as parents that we didn’t know about (wouldn’t that be nice). But why would I hurt a good thing, by flying into a frenzy over every grade along the way. Let them fail some, it teaches them to try again. Failure isn’t a bad thing, it’s the thing that helps us correct along the way. What will happen to them as adults if we teach them to fear failure? They’ll never try anything. We will be a nation of zombies. And how badly will they then treat their kids? Even worse? I can’t even imagine.
I’ve sat in classrooms for curriculum nights and meet the teacher nights where parents are insistent on getting all the info to start following their child’s grades. The tone of voice was icy, intimidating, invasive to me. Now maybe their children had specific problems with getting their work done and maintaining interest in learning, but in that case wouldn’t you look toward the reasons they respond that way. Wouldn’t you try to find the source of their disinterest. I would think the constant monitoring would increase their disinterest.
We have the privilege of raising good kids, but that doesn’t give us the right to torture them in all they do. Some things maybe, but not all things. I would look to what does interest my child, what makes them tick, what makes them happy and try to give them the resources to reach out and learn in those areas.
We are not robots.
We are not robots. We are not robots. Do you read me? Or am I crazy?
Do I think that snap grades will ruin kids lives? No. But in the wrong hands, I’m not so sure.
Listen to the radio show. We’ve come a long way in just a few years!