Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Thoughts on grading

I really don't know why I'm writing, considering it's 10 PM, I just got home from school and still have chores, homework, and stuff to prepare for theatre. Yet, I'm here. On that note, I apologize if this post makes no sense, my brain quit on me a few hours ago.

Lately there seems to be a heated debate going on over what eliminating grades would entail, and it made me think of my middle school GT teacher. To this day, Mrs. Getzel has taught me the most of any teacher and made me work much harder than any other classes. Her classes ultimately hasd no grades. She graded us based upon our effort and improvement. With our papers, she would simply give us points out of five, most of us started at 3 at the beginning of the semester, and she had us feverishly chasing that elusive 5. I worked harder in her classes than any of my high school classes combined. She made us work so hard at learning for no grade, I'm really amazed at her. Initially I hated her, my life was no longer easy, I could slack off in other classes and get A's, but not with her. But eventually, she taught us all how to write effectively, and with no traditional point system. I still remember the day I finally won that wonderful 5-. I had never been so proud of a measly 5 points in my entire life. I would really suggest talking to her if anyone's still interested in a pointless grading system.

In many of my classes, I know how the teacher grades, and base the effort I exert on aassignments on that. I really wouldn't do this if I could, but on nights when I have 30 chem problems, math homework, 30 pages of history to read and a paper to write, it would not be practical to spend all night writing my paper to the best of my ability. Practically, it would be stupid to do so, so I simply write well enough to get an A in whichever class and am satisfied. In an ideal world, I would make the paper my best effort, but basic bodily functions such as sleep tend to take over my little educational utopia. This is ultimately the most difficult thing about eliminating grades, we have so many classes, among other commitments, that something is going to be done less than our absolute best. I think the best thing we can be taught is how to prioritize without completely abandoning certain aspects of ouir responsibilities.

As wonderful as it would be to try our hardest on all classes and learn every facet of all our subjects, it simply can't happen. As scary as it is, we're in high school. I'm being kicked out into the real world in a mere two years. I'm already focusing on my likely career, and I'm only 15. It is pretty scary to think that learning has to have a deadline.

Now, as for that math homework...