But first, the rant…
Earlier this month, I posted on BlogHer about paying for grades. When I was in school, I was paid a dollar for every perfect 100 test score that I brought home. It was my parents’ way of keeping me from slacking off at school. In the comments, I was flamed for promoting perfectionism and undermining self-esteem. PUH-LEEESE, you are talking to a person who went to MIT at 16 and expects her kids to go there as well (OK, I’ll allow the usual age of 18). Do I seem completely unbalanced, unhappy and lacking self-esteem from this apparently disgusting practice? (You tell me, there are over 5 years of blog posts to look back on.) OK, I admit that I am a perfectionist, but nowadays, I strive for perfect balance.
Apparently, all the other posts on BlogHer about paying for grades were against it and my post offered the only counterpoint. Hey, if you want to be all touchy-feely and find out “who you really are”, be “intrinsically motivated” and strive to be happy in mediocrity, be my guest. I expect excellence and the desire to improve oneself. Did I need a kick in my pants to do better in school? You bet! Do you think I expected in a million years that I would be going to MIT at 16? Never!! Only my parents believed that I could. Truly, they knew my potential far better than I ever did. In my deepest self, I am still a slacker, but I know how to pull up the bootstraps when I need to thanks to the extra carrot I had growing up (as well as the firehouse education that MIT was).
The only consolation is that when my twitter feed posted on facebook, a bunch of my friends came back and said that they totally paid for grades. I am glad to have like-minded friends in real life (plus my bloggy friend Mel, but it’s like I know her IRL).
I haven’t instituted any paying for grades for Adam yet, who is now in 3rd grade. But I chuckled when he brought this home.
This is the second spelling test in a row (of as many) that he came back with a more-than-perfect score of 105. How am I supposed to pay for that? Trust me, he already feels bad when he comes home with a less than perfect score, and not because we berate him (intrinsically motivated, woo hoo!). At this rate, he won’t be needing pay for grades. That’s my boy! We are so proud of you!
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