A is for Average, F is for Fin

Emma - Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that getting good grades doesn’t matter, as long as you’re learning and trying your best. I am a lucky kid. I was brought up by parents who aren’t very strict. They don’t believe in grounding, pressuring me into doing things that I don’t want to do, or choosing my future for me. They also don’t believe in grades. They are happy when I get a good grade, but when I get a bad one, they don’t have the reaction of typical parents. They don’t ground me or take away a privilege, but instead they have a sit-down conversation with me and we talk about why I got what I got and what I can do to work on bettering my understanding of the presented material.

To me, learning is definitely more valuable. Good grades aren’t necessarily a necessity for learning something. A test or assignment is a way of demonstrating that you have already mastered the material. When you get a bad grade, it shows you the areas that you have yet to master, the things that you have to improve on better. You can learn better from your mistakes than you can from your accomplishments.

My parents initially introduced this concept to me. It first happened when I had brought home a math test that I hadn’t done very well on. “Why don’t you think you did very well on this? I know this isn’t your best work,” they would say. I would say, “I guess I didn’t really know how to do this as well as I thought I could.” My parents’ responses to my tests were what influenced me to look at grades with a new meaning. I realized not only that my life didn’t need to revolve around my grades, but on learning instead.

In my eyes now, I see the whole grading policy as a distraction and an excuse. It is a distraction that adults intended to put adolescents’ focuses into their school work and off of their social lives, and it is an excuse for teachers to put stress on us and somehow makes us happy to work hard. This is not a very effective method for me. School is supposed to prepare us for the rest of our lives. Stress from grades is different from stress to try to make a living. It may be believed to help us, or to prepare us for the stress level, but they are both different types of stresses.

With grades, the stress is to please your parents and teachers. Stress in the adult world is mostly based around pleasing yourself. There are no grades in the adult world, unless of course you are a teacher and your job is to hand them out.

What really matters isn’t the grades, but the knowledge behind them. This is because without knowledge, nothing would exist. We can live without one thing- grades. This I believe.