Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Do You Deserve An Award? Have You Earned It?

The scene: 5th grade graduation, my students are walking across a red carpet to receive their promotion certificate, they are getting recognized for achievements.

I'm announcing:
"CJ, academic scholar for all three trimesters, member of band, Special Olympics participant, and student council member."
 "MD, academic scholar for all three trimesters, winner of spelling bee, and student council member."
 "CR, member of band, special olympics participant, and student council member."
Every year during our 5th grade promotion ceremony we recognize the students who have went above and beyond.  They get announced for academic scholar all year, any school activity winners {geography bee, spelling bee, economics bee, etc}, participating in student council, being a band member, and perfect attendance.

Not everybody gets recognized.

It never fails though that every year as we are practicing the promotion and handing out certificates, I am asked by a student why I just say their name and not anything else.  Well that would be because you didn't do anything else.  You haven't done anything above and beyond!

The other day I was doing my usual "click and read" of links people were sharing on Twitter.  @babysteph shared this post that she wrote asking if "Should All Kids Get Awards?" Our graduation ceremony immediately came to mind.

No, I don't believe that all kids should get awards because awards are something you earn. It's right up there with grades.  I don't give my students their grades, they earn them.  Now I know what many are thinking, but what about the students who simply can't.  Well first of all, I, with all my heart, believe they all can. Sure it may take some extra studying, maybe a tutor, managing a busy schedule, giving up something else{like DS or TV time}, but do they want to earn an award or not?

When I say they all can do it though, I'm not talking about the same thing.  No, not everybody can win the spelling bee {just ask my husband!}, or the geography bee {I'd be out with the first question}, or that baseball trophy, or the swimming race, or get straight A's, or the teacher of the year award {did I just write that?}. But, we all are great at something! We can win at something.

As a parent and teacher, it's important that we encourage our kids to get out there.  Try different experiences, join clubs and groups, play a new sport, pick up a fun instrument, HAVE FUN.  With that being said I also think that as a parent and teacher we should help our children find their strengths and not lie to them about how "good" they are.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  So do our children.  It's okay to say, "hmmm maybe this isn't for you, how about..."  

It's okay for your child to look at others and realize they are better at something than they are.  

Maybe they will be motivated.
Maybe they will be inspired.

People are different.
This is what makes our world go round.
Let's keep it spinning.

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