By Devorah Leah Phillips
The day is dwindling and I’m nervously awaiting my grades. I sit down to look at my report. The mothering/wife life report:
Dinner B- needs work
Can you imagine this was reality? Can you imagine if you got graded daily?
Burnt dinner? 55%
Left dirty dishes in the sink? 65%
Thank G-d, that isn’t the reality. I do not receive daily grades on my parenting and work skills.
Yet, this is the harsh reality for my six-year-old child and your children too. My child receives grades on his work and I am seriously questioning whether grading is good or even needed for children.
Do we truly need to be grading children under the age of 12? Do they honestly need to see how they did on their math test? For what purpose? Are grades mentally healthy? For anyone? Are children emotionally equipped to receive grades back?
I struggled in math as a kid and I still remember the shame. I’d sweat out class determined to get my right imaginative creative brain to work with me, and she refused to cooperate. Why? For what?
The valedictorian in my school got straight A’s. A is for anxiety which she struggled tremendously with and studied using that nervous energy. Sure she got straight A’s, she also got twitch that she has till today.
My grandfather R’ Dovid Tennenhaus z”l, who a teacher for 25 years, never failed a student. When a student struggled on a test, he would call the student over and would go over the concept until the student understood and got it right.
I don’t know where we went wrong. I do know that Corona has flipped the grid and there’s no going back. We are reevaluating many of our practices, along with recognizing the immense role (and burden) of mental health.
So let’s ask ourselves and let’s ask our schools: Is it really necessary for a 5 or 6 year-old to be graded on tests? Is it necessary for them to see their test mark? Have we become too calculated?
Let’s regroup. Let’s be better. I believe there’s no need to equate my child to a number and for them to receive this grade and feel shame or excessive pride.
Devorah Leah Phillips is the Founder and CEO of vintagelydl.com @vintagelydl. Helping women find modest beautiful unique vintage clothing at a good price.