None of Your Beeswax

Submitted by Will Cozine on Fri, 05/04/2018 - 14:07 - 0 Comments
There are always a few noticeable eyerolls whenever a teacher chides a student for sharing their grade or for asking for someone else’s. But, what if they are actually right? It is understandable that students want to know how they stack up against their peers, but there are much better ways to do it. Teachers can confide in students how they compared to the rest of class. Some teachers give averages. 
The key point is this: there is always a loser when grades are shared. Someone feels happy that they aren’t the lowest on the totem pole and someone feels like crap. Imagine if teacher showed the class where all of the students stacked up with each other. That be unethical and would likely result in the teacher getting fired, so why should students try to find out their rank at the expense of their peers?
The first step to solving this issue is eliminating the stigma associated with not being willing to share grades. One saying that is thrown around a lot is that, “the less you reveal, the more people wonder.” When someone chooses to keep a score to oneself, others will assume the score was so bad they are embarrassed to share it. This pressures people into revealing their grade regardless of what they got. 
If they got a C, they might worry that the other person thinks they got a D or an F. This applies to all grades and creates a toxic environment. It adds to the competitive nature of Lincoln and detracts from what should be a collaborative educational experience. If people are genuinely able to withhold their grades without judgment, it will go a long way towards reducing the anxiety of grades at Lincoln. 
Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone has different expectations for themselves. Someone could feel great recieving a B or happy that they passed. That is, until they hear about a student who got an A on the test. And the student who got an A on the test could be upset because someone else in their class aced the test. This leaves the student who did even better the test feeling happy, right? Well, it does until people start to make judgments about them and mock them for doing well. 
Lincoln has so many students from a plethora of different backgrounds, each student with unique values and interests. When we as students measure our success against our classmates instead of trying to fulfill our own dreams and expectations, it limits the uniqueness and artistic abilities that Lincoln is supposed to represent. Yes, students should strive for excellence, but it needs to be excellence in the field where they truly want to succeed.
It would be unreasonable to suggest that people cannot discuss tests and assignments. However, grades can and should be left out. We need to change “What did you get on the test?” to “How do you feel about the test?” This simple difference means that students could respond with, “I don’t feel too good about it” or “I feel like I did really well.” Students can then, if they felt comfortable, discuss certain concepts and problems without jealousy or resentment. 
Lastly, there is one word we must do away with in our school: “easy.” The test was easy. This teacher is easy. This subject is easy. The word creates so many problems. It creates expectations for students that they wrongly feel they must live up to. If a class is deemed an “Easy A,” the student will have to get an A, or else they let themselves down. If a subject or a test is “easy”, then then students might not feel the need to study as they might have done before. 
Removing this word and the discussion of grades at Lincoln will drastically reduce the anxiety levels of students and make Lincoln a less toxic environment.