The dreaded Report Card

Grades, the dreaded report card, the culmination of your work all reduced to one letter. I used to fear the day, try to get home before the report card came to get the mail first. I did not do that badly, I just remember the sweaty feeling of opening the envelope and seeing everything in such black and white terms. Here there was no grey, no almost, it just was. It felt very final, and very intimidating. It was somehow hard for me to make the distinction from the grades, and me as a person. If I got a “C” I must be an average person, and I did not want to be average in any way. I got quite a few “C” grades in my school history, and every time I saw that letter I felt inadequate, sub par, like everyone I knew found out that I was a “C”.

As parents, Scott and I have tried hard not to focus too much on the grade, but it is an unavoidable part of our education system. With four very different children, with very different attitudes, and temperaments, this issue seems to be cloudier by the day. It is less dramatic as technology has allowed me to follow my kids academic progress on a web site. At any time during the night or day, I can log on, find out my child’s grade, latest assignment, times they have been absent, or late. I have at my fingertips a current assessment for me to communicate with my kids.

This does take some of the drama out of the report card in the mail, but the mystique of seeing it in a paper format, in an envelope marked to the parents of Isaac Johnson still has power. I have an over achiever, a slacker, a perfectionist and a “guess I should try” student. The trick comes in not comparing the kids, evaluating the potential of each, and celebrating success for each, whether it is an “A” or a “C”. Then also coming up with correct discipline based on their individuality, not conformity to the rest of the family. Yea right.

How do you celebrate the child who gets all “A’s”, has always got all ‘A’s” and seems to make it look easy, so that she does not feel unappreciated or left out when her brother who has yet to pull all A’s in his high school career does it for the first time? I do not know. How do you encourage your under achiever that you are not comparing him to his sister when you know he is comparing himself to her and always feeling like he is dumb. I do not know. What d you say to your son who gets a “B plus” while he was skating so close to the A in an AP class where the grade is weighted so a “B” is really an “A”. I do not know.

I do know that how we respond will be instrumental in how they continue to do. No pressure though. I do know that grades are not the true measure of intelligence and sometimes teachers really do not like your child. I know that the world will never ask my children what grades they got in high school but colleges will. I know that “C’s” make degrees. I do know that all I can ever do is my best as a parent, and that is what I must demand and expect of my children.

I’m so glad God grades on the curve of grace.


2 Comments so far
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“I do know that all I can ever do is my best as a parent, and that is what I must demand and expect of my children.”

I really like this!

Comment by ParentsDesk

Thank you, insights and comments are more than welcome here! Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Comment by Kari

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