A Grade Should Never Feel Like Revenge

Kayhi's second semester is now in its third week, and over that time I've now been fully in charge of five periods of class—a full work load.

Aside from being a whole lot of work—and a good deal of fun—my new experiences have led me to one small conclusion recently: A grade should never feel like a teacher's revenge.

It's not that I've had this feeling in the past three weeks; I haven't. I think I still feel some sadness (or at least benign ambivalence) whenever I enter a bad grade for a student. However, I have realized that grades could feel like revenge in a bad situation: If I didn't really have control of a class, or if I was over-frustrated with students, entering a zero or F could seem like the best (or easiest) way to exact some punishment afterward.

If a teacher ever does see grades as revenge though, I think that's a pretty bad sign. For one thing, it means there's an adversarial relationship with students, (always bad), and for another, it indicates the teacher isn't very invested in the success of his or her students.

Ideally, every student should receive some level of encouragement from their teachers to take advantage of the learning opportunities presented them, and, if they stumble in the process, a teacher should lend a helping hand. If a student squanders all their opportunities and refuses all offers of help, then the only proper response on the teacher's part would just be to feel sorry for the student.

I believe that's the mold I've begun working in. In the meantime, though, I'll stay wary of falling—on a really bad day, perhaps—into the grades-as-revenge temptation.