The end of a grading period is coming up fast. Generally before it arrives I like to give my students an itemized progress report a few days before I have to turn in grades. I tell them if they get it signed by their parents I will give them a bonus 100 daily grade. Usually by this time they have so many grades in the grade book this extra one will really only boost their average by a few points. So giving them this really serves two purposes. This is how I explain it to them, I am only human so there may be a mistake in my grade book. I ask them to check what I have and see if they have anything I missed in their grade book. It is like having them double check my bookkeeping. Secondly when they see their grades, the ones that are failing will usually be motivated to attend tutorials and get their grades back up.
So yesterday I gave out the reports and explained to my kids why. One of them (that was failing) shouted out, "Wow Mrs. Thanks a lot!" At first I thought he was being sarcastic with me, but then he asked why can't all teachers be this nice and help them out. This got me thinking about a couple of things. One of those is how we are commanded by God to serve one another and as teachers we are public servants. Galatians 5:13 states, "My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love." Sometimes teaching can be depressing and frustrating and we have to remember the purpose we are serving. This student was asking about those teachers that take out their frustration on the kids.
In a way this students gratitude reminded that we should be thankful for the opportunity to educate. No doubt schools are full of pressure and stress. There are too many administrators and teachers that operate under a "gotcha" type system where they focus on trying to catch people doing wrong. I was reading about this recently in a business management book. It was explaining about how by focusing on the negative we create a paranoid environment where people are afraid and don't perform at their best. Not exactly what I would describe as an optimal learning environment. If we remember our purpose as servants then we seek out the best ways to serve and create the most productive environment. I am grateful I have students that help me remember that.