Musings, Nits, and Praises: "But I spent hours writing this paper"

Musings, Nits, and Praises

A farrago of all things deemed blog-worthy by a music-loving, poetry-writing, humor-seeking English teacher


"But I spent hours writing this paper"

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/education/18college.html?_r=2&emc=eta1

Teaching high school, I face the "I worked hard therefore I deserve a good grade" mentality as well. At times to a frustrating degree.

One of the quotes I post in my room is from Samuel Johnson: "What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure." At the beginning of the year, I point out that quote and explain to my students that working hard is imperative if they want to earn a good grade but that assiduousness alone doesn't translate into good grades. Of course, come research paper time I still have a few students say, "I worked for hours on this and I made a C." I try to respond as gently as possible, but the crux of my explanation is always "That's because it's a C paper."

I think it's helpful sometimes to combat the "hard work is tantamount to an A" mentality by drawing parallels to non-academic activities. For example, athletes understand full well that they have to work hard to win games but that winning a game requires more than diligence.

The more difficult--but more important task--the writer in the NY Times alludes to is teaching students to view education as more than just a grade-earning system.

1 Responses to “"But I spent hours writing this paper"”

  1. # Blogger Janet Middlekauff

    It also comes down to your students' definition of hard work. What they may consider to be an "A" effort is not necessarily realistic. Sometimes, reality bites!  

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