Here’s your warning: today’s post is just pure rant. While majority of my posts are hypothetical questions and open ended conclusions, today I have a very definite opinion. Today in class we got into discussions about whether or not we should tell children that they are wrong. While I agree we shouldn’t be harsh in our criticism (particularly as English teachers), there is absolutely no reason that we should not be able to tell our students the truth.
Why you ask? Well gather ’round children, I’ve got a story to tell.
So my brother (who is 5 years younger than me) was diagnosed with Autism when he was 6.
First of all, it turns out that the school diagnosed him wrong (which is another issue in itself) but it was because of this diagnosis that my brother was completely babied in elementary and middle school. They would let him not do work then turn it in super late for full credit. If he threw a bad enough tantrum he was able to get out of class all together. Basically, Bobby dearest learned how to play the system. Instead of learning to be independent and take responsibility, he learned that if he balked enough he would always get his way. They treated him this way because they thought he was too “sensitive” and “couldn’t handle” some things.
Today he is in his sophomore year of high school. He’s doing better now because he is held accountable for his actions. There’s no more, “Oh you tried. Good job” it’s “you don’t do the assignment correctly you don’t pass the class”. And while I understand that we don’t want to be too harsh on our students, there comes a time when you gotta just let them know whether or not they are doing what you want.
I believe that if we fill our class room with a bunch of, “A for effort”s and “thank you for trying”s, we are going to have a generation of kids who, like my brother did, don’t feel any sort of accountability or responsibility. Sometimes there are right and wrong answers. Not everything is up to interpretation. And as educators, we need to teach our students that so they aren’t completely shocked when they graduate into the real world.
In my mind, honesty is ALWAYS the best policy.
Comments much appreciated,
I will put honesty before the risk of humiliation. -Rachel Joy Scott