Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who are the Awards for Anyway?

This is the first year that Kyra has been at a school that gives awards, rewards, and even grades for that matter. It's the first year that the word "honors" has come up. The first year that placement in classes has been an issue. Testing has been stressed, achievements have been noted, and goals were being set. Now, fortunately for us and Kyra, she has excelled in these areas and hasn't stressed out over any of it. Is that just who she is, is the work not hard, or does she rise to the challenge?

I went to the 7th grade Honors awards today and chased Payton around the gym and outside for an hour and a half. I was very impressed with the cheering and kind attitude most of the students had for one another and for their teachers. They were attentive and really seemed interested in what was going on. These were all the kids, not just the ones receiving awards. In fact, it seemed like most of the students getting awards were coming from one side of the gym and I was on the other. My side was doing all the cheering. It really was quite impressive. Even the final awards, the ones based on GPA, were receiving quite the applause. I say "even" because that is available to all students who work to receive the grades. The kids that didn't get the grades were proud of and cheered for their peers that succeeded. Would adults be that kind to one another? Would we cheer our neighbor without making excuses for our lack of success?

It got me to thinking... who are the awards for anyway? As they called Kyra's name, I was astonished at how successful she had become in one year at this school. I was proud. I started to look at the program and compare my child to the others, but then I stopped. The question I had to ask myself was, "Why now? This is who Kyra is, she didn't TRY to earn these awards, she just did. Why haven't you been this proud all along?" Why does it matter to me or anyone else how she compares to other students? But then the flip side is, shouldn't she get recognized for going above and beyond? If a teacher looks at all his or her students and selects one that has excelled over the past year, isn't it a good thing to reward them? And isn't a little healthy competition, well, healthy? But then again, if you didn't know you were competing, did you really earn the award? If you just did what you thought you should do, do you really need the reward? Should self-satisfaction and self-appraisal be enough? And isn't that the ultimate goal, being 'proud' of yourself? Really, just having confidence in yourself and your abilities, knowing you've done the best you can not based on what anyone else can do should be what we teach our children, shouldn't it?

I don't know the answers to all these questions. They are the ones swimming through my head as I weigh the options of school choices for the next several years. Ugh, when did being a parent become so difficult? That's the real question!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can only answer your last question. August 7, 1998.