How much do grades matter – a kids perspective

By a 12 year old who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of becoming famous among her peers for these awesome views.

Do they really?  I’m a bit confused about this one.  My parents are constantly nagging for my siblings and me to study, to focus and to make an effort to get good grades.  Teachers always emphasise the importance of getting good grades and well, let’s face it – the students who get good grades receive awards and acknowledgement for it every year.  So then it sounds to me like grades should matter.  And now I’ve had some time to actually think about it and decide for myself.

See, I think that learners should put an appropriate amount of time and effort into studying to get good marks.  All-nighters and hours poring over the same section of NS is just unnecessary really, especially if I’m never going to actually need to create an explosion in real life.  Everything in moderation, isn’t that what someone important once said?  So moderate to mild studying ought to get students enough to pass and be happy about it.  Anyway, isn’t it about what I feel about my exam or is it about what my parents and teachers feel?  Then again, mum always says that I have great potential if I put my mind to something.  I’m guessing she means “put your mind to studying hard, you have the potential to get A’s”

The pressure is high right now with exams coming up soon.  And that’s part of the problem.  The pressure makes us feel overwhelmed, overwhelmed to succeed, to do well, to make our parents proud.  But at the same time, each day is different and some days, as prepared as I think I may be, I may not get my best results.  No one wants to fail but the pressure may become too much for some kids.  All I’m saying is that parents and teachers need to take it easy, calm down, have a cup of tea and let us do our thing.  No amount of walking around like a prison warden is going to make me get an extra 10 marks in my exam!

And while I’m at it, don’t you think we should have a choice about what we’d like to include in our curriculum?  Like maybe sports, or movies, what about music?  I bet a whole lot of us would do exceptionally well in those subjects with little to no studying at all!  I think some kids aren’t all that academic as well and school only tests our academic abilities.  Some kids are great doing things with their hands and others are amazing when they aren’t sitting in a chair for 7 hours a day.

So in conclusion, I’ve decided that grades matter to the extent that it makes you happy.  If getting A’s is your thing, go for it.  If an average is fine for you because you can’t take the pressure or you’d rather be at soccer practice, then so be it.  At the end of the day, I don’t think I’ll remember that I had an A for math in grade 6 but I will remember how to calculate how much 3 awesome pairs of shoes will cost when I’m out shopping!

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4 Responses

  1. I love it. Funny and insightful. My daughter would agree totally. She is 8 years old, intelligent little person, hates studying, but still gets her A’s at the end of the day.
    Maybe as a parent I should stop pressuring her to do even better.

  2. I think it’s worth having the longstanding ideas about studying and grades challenged because if they aren’t questioned, the chances of learning something new are stunted.
    Equally important, though, are the attitudes and outlook which result in the “good” grades. If you get good grades because you are driven from inside to achieve them, they’ll be worthwhile.
    If you get good grades because of being whipped by your resident exam prison warden, they might be worth a little less.

    Separately, I think that there ought to be regular appearances of written pieces by the younger ones. Sad to say, the older members of society aren’t doing a really good job of running the planet at the moment.

  3. As a teacher and mom , I believe that school is not about learning the content of NS or physical science . School teaches you how to prioritize, how to make friends, how to deal with difficult situations, how to get yourself out of trouble. It teaches you to work in a group even when your the only person contributing . Even your levels of respect comes from the situations are at home and school.

  4. When you need a cardiologist or a neurosurgeon, you’re going to want one that didn’t scrape through with 50%, don’t you agree? someone to keep your bank account in order, not lose some of your deposits accidentally because they can’t balance the books? someone to teach your children Maths correctly? someone to teach your kids to read? someone to fix the bridge you want to drive across?Someone to design the microwave you enjoy cooking with? This is not going to be possible if everyone parks off.
    There is a place for good grades , a standard of excellence and achievement; not everything can be mediocre or easy or comfortable. To achieve may take a considerable effort and passion and a drive from a young age.
    But that said each person has their own contribution to make, their own talents and their own good and bad points; not everyone is the same. But don’t knock how hard it is to achieve excellence, it takes serious consistent commitment and sheer dogged hard work. Do your best and find out what you’re good at. You need to enjoy some level of success and achievement at something in your life. People are all special in their own way, that includes the boff brains.

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