I want to do the opposite of what I’m told. An obstinant character trait that can result in isolation and sometimes failure. I was a difficult child. The kid who had their own ideas that no amount of explanation or restriction could sway. I followed direction only when I saw an advantage in it or clear and present danger in not doing it.
I don’t think people change. I’m still that kid who wanted to dress in a certain way and did not want to go on swings no matter how safe my grandmother said it would be. I have my own ideas.
This, of course, leads to my classroom. There are a lot of children, just like me. They have their own ideas and don’t want to do as asked. The trouble is that in many classrooms, there isn’t enough time or space to allow a lot of questioning. So those that resist may fail to meet expectations. The “successful” ones have figured out how to do as told. Rewards come in the form of grades when procedures and requirements are met. I resist this, yet I’m embroiled in a system that amplifies it.
Grades. Clicked into a reporting system that is devoid of flexibility or humanity.
Grades. That measures the accomplishment of developing humans.
Grades. That can cause harm.
So, I find ways to resist. I give credit for work that manifests in unconventional ways. Bold leadership that could be seen as disrespectful, persistence that presents as confusion and scribbles, slow thinking that results in unfinished work, hidden brilliance that is found only by listening carefully. Translating students’ learning and growth into a grade on a report card requires more than a percentage on a test or a score on a rubric.
The grades are in. Handwritten comments that share the promise and potential of each child will be added before they are sealed in envelopes students should not have to fear.