Yesterday was Awards Day at our school. 1 1/2 hours of awards to the same 30 or so students. Do you remember awards day in middle school? I do. I remember sitting there hoping that I would get something, then realizing that my parents aren’t there so probably not. I remember leaving thinking, how did I get so dumb? I remember all my friends checking out bc their parents had to take off of work and so they go to lunch in their pretty dresses while I go back to class in flannels and jeans (hey that was awesome in the mid 90s). I remember thinking even if I was smart, the teachers hate me bc I talk too much in class so I probably won’t get one anyway. I am sure not everyone can associate a pit in their stomach with awards day, but there are some who do. Now I will admit that my senior year I did get a lot of awards and it felt great, but during the ceremony I still had that pit.
Yesterday I felt the pit. I teach general level classes. My students’ success are different than highest grade in a course. When a student is reading on 3rd grade level, being able to tell the class how a sedimentary rock is formed, that is a success. I can probably point out 3 or 4 successes that each of my 120 students have had this year. They aren’t silly number grades or getting elected or chosen to something, it was a small event in their life where they felt successful. Some of these successes did not even happen at school, and that is ok, life happens outside the walls of a classroom. I hope someone celebrated those moments. I wish I knew about each one. I wish there passions and triumphs were on display.
So maybe I’m just a little biased because of my life story, but I sat there and watched over 100 awards being given out yesterday and of the 300 kids I have taught over the last 3 years that were in that gym, only 6 received an award. Those that did not, so many bust their tails for C’s and sat their with that pit in their stomach wondering when, if ever, they will be smart/good enough. I am not saying the gifted/Pre-AP students should never be recognized, but we all know who they are, and are very proud of their accomplishments, I just feel for that under-dog with the pit.