Accepting missteps

Parent's high expectations on students can impact their stress levels

Accepting missteps

I was the annoying “gifted kid” in elementary school. I was pulled out to do different work, held to a different expectation than the rest of my class. This fast-paced, fun and easy school experience was fun while it lasted. Now, the “gifted kids” are in AP classes with hours of homework each night. As AP students, we’re trying to prove we’re the same people we’ve always been, the ones who don’t have to study for a test. But it’s different now, and the stakes have been raised. Over everything, we want to still prove that we’re capable of big things. And personally, I need my parents and teachers to understand this.

A letter grade of a B is not a punishable grade. At this point in my school career, I know my grades have to be very good in order to possibly receive scholarships and other opportunities. Although, straight A’s are nearly impossible if you’re not some sort of crazy genius. Yes, I work hard, and I am not saying straight A’s isn’t my goal, but it is inevitable to hit some bumps in the road. And these should not be looked down upon.

I’ll admit I have beat myself up about a B+ before. And junior year me wants to go back and tell my past self to “just wait.” I think we were raised with the notion that perfection is expected and nothing less. In the G/T and AP classes I’ve taken over the years, it always feels like a competition. “What did you get on the test?” and “How did you do on this assignment?” are common questions always floating around the classroom. I don’t understand why we let it bother us so much. I’m guilty of comparing myself and my scores to others way too much, and it’s almost necessary to try and take a step back from that head space.

According to Edutopia, when students experience an academic setback, it is proven to increase their stress levels. High stress levels can affect daily life. This is not healthy, in my opinion. A bad grade should not be so world-shattering that a student’s personal life is affected.

It is not even the stress to be focusing on, it’s the effects students experience after a series of comments they make towards themselves or others make towards them regarding grades. The mental state of this person is horrible, and I believe no one should have to go through that.

I am not at all saying students should slack off. I personally believe to be successful is to try your very best and work as hard as possible, and the grade will reflect that. But in my opinion, it is time to stop making students and children feel shame after bringing home a B or C. It’s the process and the learning that occurred that matters.

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