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"

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!  

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link

© 2006 Musings, Nits, and Praises | No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Learn how to