In order to motivate their children to succeed in school, many parents promise a reward for good grades. One dollar for every “A” was the going rate when I grew up, but, today I hear the price has increased considerably for those who offer monetary rewards!
Then there are parents who feel strongly that rewarding for good grades is counter-productive go math grade 4. They feel children should not need to be rewarded for doing what is expected of them. For some, rewarding them sets them up to only do their best when something is promised in return.
My parents were somewhere in the middle.
We were taught that part of our responsibility as children was to attend school and do our very best. My parents were very clear that they expected each of us to make our education a priority in our lives. It may sound strange but it was understood that everyone in our family had a “job”…Mom and Dad provided for our needs and hopefully some of our wants financially through our family business and as I heard my Mother say numerous times, the children were in the “business of learning”.
However, we were held to a standard that coincided with our ability. They made a point each year to meet with our teachers and share with them what they expected…from them and from us. My parents always insisted that the teacher report their opinion of our performance in the comment section provided at the end of the report card. I remember some years the report cards gave grades for conduct and effort. This made my parents very happy because this is what they were interested in.
We were not given rewards for letter grades like our friends. That’s not to say we weren’t congratulated and celebrated for our achievements, we were. However, the focus of our report card was not necessarily the letter grade attached to the subjects. My parents would have each of us read aloud the comments the teachers would write.
“Denny is an excellent student who perseveres consistently”, wrote my math teacher in 6th grade. I received tons of praise from my parents for that comment. I remember the exact wording to this day for two reasons. One, because I had to look up the word persevere in the dictionary and two, because I received a letter grade of “D” which landed me in math summer school that year!
Not much was made of the fact that I received a “D”. I understood that my parents were very proud of me for trying my best and at the same time I knew it was important to learn how to multiply and divide fractions and decimals!
My parents saw their role as supporters to help us achieve our personal best. If our attitude and effort were 100 % we were rewarded for being good students, sometimes with a trip to the local ice cream parlor for a banana split and other times a family day trip to beach.
Regardless of the reward, in retrospect, the best part was always seeing the pride and joy in my parent’s eyes when we would share what was written in the comment box.