This morning during advisory I asked my advisees how the year was going so far. They said it seemed alright, OK. Nothing brilliant or sparkling. Sure it was school I was asking them about and they were speaking in front of their peers so it probably did not seem cool to say they liked school. One student said it was “boring” and I reminded him to be careful of that word because it said more about him than about the quality of his teachers or classes.
FM said it’s not so much school, but the homework that was boring. I told him the homework was tough for teachers too.
“Then don’t assign it.”
“But you get paid for grading it.”
“Yeah. What if we got paid for doing our homework?”
“Yes. How about we get some money for getting an A on an assignment, then a little bit less for a B, and a little bit less for a C.”
“How about anything under a C, you owe money to the teacher.”
“Wouldn’t that mean that a teacher would make more money if her students did not get above a C? That’s upside down motivation.”
“This sounds like academic capitalism. The ones who can play the academic game the best get the bucks. Those who don’t play the game as well don’t.”
“What if you are a different kind of learner and just can’t get the grades? That leaves you pretty poor by the end of the year. And maybe you’re the one who needs that extra money because you need a tutor or something.”
“What about a kind of learning savings account without using real money? Like we calculate how much we might have earned for the quality of all the assignments we did during the year and compare our totals at the end.”
“Isn’t that what a grade is? I mean, doesn’t a grade do the same thing?”
We had come full circle. 8th grade logic.