Traditions of Our Educators.

I had one of those parent-teacher conferences today. I kind of hate them. I have to pick my kids up from school, take them home to do all their after-school necessities (snack, bathroom), then rush back to school to talk to the teacher for 10 minutes.

It literally took 10 minutes to do the conference. I wish it was one of those things I could opt out of without looking like an uninvolved parent. Because she could’ve said everything in an email and had the same effect.

She had no concerns. I had no concerns. My kid had no concerns. Why do we need to meet to talk about our lack of concern? If there actually were concerns then a conference would make a lot more sense. Alas.

One of the things that did come out of this conference, though, was a better understanding of letter grades for my child. He didn’t get how they worked and kept trying to assign a word to each letter grade, as with every acronym he’s ever learned in school.

Him: So, A means awesome? And B means… best?

Yeah, didn’t quite work out. But, then, I realized that the whole system doesn’t quite work out.

Why is it that every educator ever uses a system for grading based on letters? A=1, and the grades follow the letters alphabetically. Except they stop at F. I imagine the system originally going all the way to Z and just being way too complicated and nit-picky to be practical. “I got an L in Algebra. Well, that’s better than a but I think my next test will pull it up to an H.”

And why do we skip right over E and go directly to F? Just so we can use the pneumonic device to remember that F means fail? In which case, maybe we should just assign each letter grade a word to remember it more easily. Or a phrase, in my case:

A = Awesome
B = Better than most
C = Couldn’t be more average
D = Don’t give up yet
F = Failing Fantasically

That makes just as much sense to me as only using the letters. But not all the letters. And skipping over E when it was clearly next.

It’s probably best I’m not an educator.


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