Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dear Students,

This is why I won't give you an A.

Every semester. EVERY SEMESTER I have to deal with students and parents who are disappointed, frustrated, or occasionally enraged because I am not giving them/their students higher grades on their assignments. Every year, parents tell me that last year's tutor would have given their student an A, that my expectations are unreasonable, and that I'm ruining their students' lives by dragging their GPAs down. And, to add a whole new angle to the article, because I work in Christian education, parents sometimes also imply that my commitment to quality work is unchristian. "Jesus only requires our best work, and my student is doing her best," they tell me, or "Is there no room for mercy in your philosophy of education? Why must you insist on a standard of perfection?"

I try to tell them that good work (and nothing else) is good work, that an A is not the only good grade, and that when their students actually earn an A, they know that they will deserve it. Sometimes they trust me, struggle, learn, and grow. Sometimes they drop my classes after they accuse me of being heartless, tell me I'm too young and don't know what I'm doing, verbally abuse me (sometimes in person, sometimes over email), and complain about me to my boss.

Hearing someone else verbalize this struggle is a balm to some of the still-raw wounds I'm carrying from this year. I've got two weeks left until summer.

Lord, have mercy.


A

1 comment:

Marisa Peterson said...

GREAT article, thanks so much for posting.

Let's keep on keeping on. :)

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