Last week, my kids were guests at a primary school assembly at a school which was not their own school (Tsoof is in his fourth year at university and Noff is in Grade 9). At dinner, they shared their experience with us.
“The deputy principal”, Noff said in shock, “Told the kids they would be getting report cards soon and that if they got a ‘C’ they should be very happy, because ‘C’ meant they were at the average level expected for their grade”. Tsoof joined Noff in her surprise, not believing they had heard this coming from a deputy principal. I was proud of them for rejecting the idea that getting a ‘C’ or the average score expected of them was something to be happy about.
Tsoof said, “How can you expect kids to aim higher if you tell them that a ‘C’ is what they should aim for?”
Noff said, “They think they’re helping their students feel better about getting a ‘C’, but it only makes them give up on doing better” (she is just 13 years old).
Gal and I sat in front of them feeling very proud of our kids for saying that the average is never a good enough aim.
I love quotes. There is one I like in particular, which hangs on a wall in our house and I sometimes even put it in my email signature. It says:
Not doing more than the average is what brings the average down
This is my motto in education as well. I am allergic to the word “average”. I take every opportunity to protest against it. This story made me feel like I should do it again, hopefully louder this time.
Teaching kids to aim for the average is a formula for raising non-achievers who look for the easy way out. Who search for the easiest way to pass through life rather than living it to the fullest.
The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure
John C. Maxwell
Teaching kids to aim for the average promotes slack behavior. They grow to be adults who tick boxes but never achieve anything great, who are focused on how things look from the outside, rather than the value gained inside.
Teaching kids to aim for the average is giving them the tools to lower their expectations, their achievements and the self-esteem that comes with it.
Teaching kids to aim for the average is another way of telling them there is no reason, no desire, no point, no targets, no movement and no purpose. It gives them permission to go through life aimlessly!
Teaching kids to aim for the average is stripping them of their uniqueness. It makes it easy for adults and people in authority to control them by obidience and conformism.
At our house, the average is the minimum. It is the place you get you without putting in any effort. Doing no more than that minimum happens when you do not try, when challenges are obstacles and not stettping stones, when pessimism is a fear of the future, when hope is an illusion and happiness is a myth.
I have three children that understand that the reward in going to school is not the ‘C’ on the report card but the growth you achieve when you stretch yourself to be the best you can be. When you discover inside of you things you didn’t know you could do, when you accumulate success experiences and realize you are special, you are resourceful, you are awesome, you are able and creative, you are talented and friendly.
With no port in mind, no wind is favorable
I raise kids to aim for an ‘A’ in trying, ‘A’ in friendship, ‘A’ in commitment, ‘A’ in persistence, ‘A’ in sharing, ‘A’ in caring, ‘A’ in honesty and ‘A’ in respect, ‘A’ in critical thinking, ‘A’ in initiative and ‘A’ in intuition, ‘A’ in creativity and ‘A’ in kindness.
You probably won’t be surprised to know that ‘A’s in these most important things in life, translate to ‘A’s in their schooling.
No report card can give your kids an ‘A’ for their behavior in real life, but if you teach them to aim for ‘C’ at school, they will be more likely to aim for a ‘C’ in the test of life.
OK, I’m done with my protest for today. I am very proud of my own children who can teach some principals a good lesson about education.
Tell us what you think about aiming for the average in the comment box below.