Categories
Raising Responsible Students

The Controversy of the No Zero Grading Policy

Essential Question: Does giving learners no lower than a 50 percent as an overall grade, even when they have not done anything, helping or hurting the learner?

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In a few states, the no zero grading policy has been making some tremendous waves. Teachers and parents have been wondering if this policy really helps the child or does it hinder. The district leaders have said it gives students “a chance” to succeed but does it really?  Hmmm, inquiring minds would like to know.

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I think the grievance that teachers have, is if a student does absolutely nothing in their classes, the student would still receive a 50 percent as an overall grade instead of what they truly deserved. This further supports their argument that if a student receives a 50 percent first quarter, then does enough in class to earn at least a “C” second quarter, and receives a passing grade on the final exam, they could still pass the class with at least a “C”.

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This fact enrages some teachers for many different reasons.

Reason 1 – Students are receiving credit for doing absolutely nothing.

Reason 2 – This is not preparing students for reality because community colleges, and universities STILL give students what they really earn, not a 50 percent for doing nothing.  

Reason 3 – When a student enters the workplace, they will receive feedback based on their work performance and will not be given anything other than their work performance.

Reason 4 – How would it appear if teachers decided to work 50 percent of the day but STILL expected 100 percent pay? It would be safe to assume they would not have a career in their professional for very long.

            The other thing to consider is that there are cases where students still do not pass the class after receiving a 50 percent, so the no-zero policy is not always a win-win situation for learners. In retrospect, it is about principle.

            Giving a grade without having to earn it is an ethical issue because it essentially is saying that it is ok to do nothing and still receive something. For example, a student that earns a 53 percent by actually turning in work, while another does nothing and earns a 50 percent. Does this seem ethical? By doing this, is our educational system preparing learners to go as further or preparing them to only go as far as their true intellect?

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As education moves forward, what will happen if this no zero grading policy continues? Will it help or hurt our learners? Will it create the Dunning-Kruger Effect in some of these students, where they feel more qualified than they really are?

Giving a grade without expecting work, is like giving a cart without wheels. The cart itself may seem like a beneficial resource at the time, but without the wheels it will become more difficult to use as it becomes full.

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So, does giving learners no lower than a 50 percent as an overall grade, even when they have not done anything, helping or hurting the learner? Just food for thought.

Wellness Tip: Healthy Smile. Schedule a dental exam or cleaning and stick to it.

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ~Malcolm X

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

Resources

https://www.wflx.com/2018/09/24/teacher-upset-about-no-zero-grading-policy/

https://www.fox5dc.com/news/no-zero-policy-at-maryland-school-draws-scrutiny

Categories
purpose

Double-Minded Island

The school bell has rung, class is now in session

I am back from my hiatus on Double-Minded Island. Double-Minded Island is an Island shaped like a hand and is a place people end up who are in the valley of decisions.

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On the island, as I was reflecting about life and where I wanted to go from this point, a memory of a time come to mind. It was a little over 12 years ago when I had been applying to different alternative teaching programs around the U.S. and internationally. It was a very confusing time. I had been praying for clarification because every opportunity that came appeared to be a good idea, but as we know, not everything that is “good” is of “God.”

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One day, I was visiting an old building that I used to rent for a business I owned. The new owners had made the building into a used bookstore that I frequented from time to time. As I stood in line to purchase a book, a man came behind me that looked like a character from a Canterbury Tales novel, beard and all.

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As I was standing in line, taking my wallet out for payment, the gentleman behind me asked about a picture in my wallet of a family member. After providing some insight about that family member, he went on to ask me had I been trying to make a decision about moving lately? I was surprised because I had been trying to decide on whether or not to move. He told me to hold out my hand, he wanted to use it as an analogy. He held up my pointer finger and said, “This is your who, the middle finger is your what, the ring finger is your when, the pinky finger is your where and your thumb finger is your why.” He went on to say, “Never make a decision to do anything, unless the why makes sense. The why functions like your thumb and without it, you won’t grip very well, or hold on to anything for long.” He told me praying about it will help me make sound decisions.” Afterwards I thanked him, and he mentioned he had to go walk to the store up the road to get medicine for his wife. It was super cold outside that day, as it was mid-October, so I was surprised he was walking. After I paid, I went outside to make sure he was ok and there was no sign of him anywhere.

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I got into my car and sat there thinking at how much God must really care to send a stranger to tell me something like that when I really needed hear it. As I prayed and reflected on the positions I vacillated between, I thought about my hands, my fingers and my why. As I did this, things became much clearer. I began to ask myself, “Why do I really want to go to these places?” I began to realize a lot of the why behind me going was not for me, but for others.

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We end up on Double-Minded Island because of discontentment. Discontentment usually comes from comparing ourselves to others. It can start small, walking by someone and noticing their designer watch or bag. Surfing through Instagram, FB, or Twitter, and seeing smiling faces on vacations in nice restaurants, waterskiing and so on. It could even come from chatting with a friend and hearing about a really great experience they’ve recently had. All of these happenings could lead to discontentment and unhappiness in our own lives.

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I am glad I had that memory after my hiatus to Double-Minded Island because it reminded me the importance of knowing my why behind each decision I make. If you are trying to decide between a decision, and end up on Double-Minded Island and remember:

Pointer Finger – Who

Middle Finger – What

Ring Finger – When

Pinky Finger – Where

Thumb Finger – WHY

This will get you back on the Boat of Contentment, which is a much joyful and peaceful place. I leave you with these last words of encouragement.

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Rejoicing in Trials

James 1: 6-8

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Wellness Tip:  Take vitamins. If you feel like you aren’t getting the nutrition you need from your diet, don’t hesitate to supplement it with specific vitamins to stay healthy and illness free.

Life is too precious to remain stuck in an unpleasant story, so go ahead and close that story book and began a new one.” ~Dr. Kamina Fitzgerald

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

Categories
Raising Responsible Students

Discipline: Shouldn’t the Home and School Environment be Equal?

The school bell has rung, class is now in session

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I was reading that a lot of virtual schools have been arriving on the scene lately and are geared towards students who cannot seem to function well in a structured classroom setting, or may have an attendance issue, and/or discipline problem. In these virtual schools, a teacher could have up to 400 students because statistically, all the students have not “shown up” for classes anyway; so, it is believed the teacher should be able to handle his or her class-load. I know some colleagues who teach in virtual schools, and honestly most students are not learning but simply working on modules and getting a mark for completion. How can they truly learn in this setting when they are in a “virtual” classroom full of 400 students and one teacher? Not to mention the majority of virtual school have an “F” report card. Check out the following article when given a chance, but please continue reading. https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/virtual-schools/

This type of school has a market because there are so many students no longer being able or willing to obey school rules. So, after either being suspended, expelled or dropped for too many absences, their parents seek out a place their child can attend, and this usually results in either alternative school or a virtual school.

This type of disruptive behavior has also been tied to the reason many of the public-school teachers are no longer remaining in Education. One of the number one reasons teachers leave is because they do not receive adequate support from parents and/or administration when it comes to disciplining disruptive students. I personally have worked in schools that were super structured and implemented consistent discipline, and other schools, where the worst behaved students only got a slap on the wrist from administration and/or parents. So, put yourself in the mindset of a schoolteacher; which should not be hard because most, if not all of us, have attended school before.

teacher has the responsibility to give, share, explain knowledge (also known as curriculum/subject matter) to students. It is also their responsibility to uphold a certain code of ethics, while also being available to answer any questions the students may have in order to increase understanding.

student has the responsibility to learn, obtain, take notes, study, review the material/knowledge that the teacher has taught. Why? So that they can learn different skills they can later utilize in the workplace. Skills such as working in groups, note-taking, presenting, writing, typing, listening, and obtaining new knowledge of different subject matter (while also being able to review prior material learned). The way the school measures whether the student “has learned” is by providing formative assessments (homework, asking and answering questions in class, poster board, presentations, etc…) and summative assessments (unit test, chapter test, benchmarks, end of course or end of grade exams).

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A parent/guardian has the responsibility to ensure they are aware of what “The Teacher” is teaching and if their child appears to be learning the information or not. The sooner “learning or failing” is identified, the quicker the child’s lack of progress can be addressed. Don’t be like this parent:

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It is also the parent/guardian’s responsibility to ensure the child is going to bed on time, and yes this applies to high school children as well because there is a direct link between academic performance and adequate sleep. Let’s be honest, this applies to adults as well.

The way to assess if your child needs to go to bed earlier is by asking the teacher if he or she sleeps in class. (Yes, it is ok for the parent to reach out to the teacher about their child, as a matter of fact, the teachers prefer it because when I was in the classroom, there were times when I had a total of 90 students to contend with, even though they were broken up into three classes.)

So, if the parent inquires if their child is sleeping in class and the answer is yes, then the child needs to go to sleep earlier and a bedtime should be established for their own good.

It would also help your child if consistent disciplinary actions are utilized in the home. This is VERY important. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard students snicker and shrug their shoulders after they were told by a school official, “We are going to call your parents.”

If there is trouble establishing consistent consequences for negative behavior, all sorts of resources are available! Do not be ashamed to ask or look for them. I have access to some and would love to share. Just email me on my contact page or leave a comment below and maybe everyone can share what they do in their home that works.

In my dissertation, The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness and the Ill-Prepared Workforce: A Study of the Perceptions of Community College Administrators and Instructors; District High School Administrators, and Guidance Counselors, and CTE Department; and a Workforce Employer in North Carolina, every group named in my title, listed “parents and guardians” as the top influencer in their lives, and career or lack of career decisions made. This surprised me but explains why so many past students have become disengaged adults today. Parents, this proves just how much You and Your Presence, matters the most in your child’s life. And if you are not present, your child may experience some of the same behaviors that other abusive-type behaviors produce.

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Students will usually reflect what have been projected on them. Think of a flower, if it is neglected and left to itself, it withers and eventually dies. If a child is neglected, which could include but is not limited to: lack of consistent discipline, rewarding negative behavior, leaving them alone for extended periods of time, not caring who they communicate with online or in person, allowing them over to homes in which you do not really know they parents lifestyle, not caring if they are failing, or not showing intentional “interest” in every aspect of their lives. They will produce an unruly OR uninterested student at school because no one from home will be making sure they are doing what they are supposed to do. This type of student will either be consistently disruptive or become invisible in their classrooms, never reaching their fullest potential. They will end up either dropping out, failing, repeating courses, hanging out with others like them and/or doing some type of virtual school/course in which they just complete a checklist of modules and are PASSED along without learning much, if anything at all. They could end up like the student below:

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I know this is not what any parent would want for their child, and believe it or not, school personnel do not want to see it either but sometimes it just happens because the school can only do so much without the consistent support of the parent/guardian. So, rise up parents, and take your rightful place as the superhero in your child’s life! FYI, Middle and High School students NEED you the most, so please do not slack off once your child reaches these grade levels. I cannot tell you how many high school and middle school students I have counseled from making life-altering decisions, even though some of them still chose to do the opposite because no one at home was monitoring them.

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I spoke to a woman who works in the North Carolina Attorney General’s office and she showed me all of the sneaky APPs available for any child with a smartphone and how deceptive they are. It was super scary. So, the first thing I would do is educate yourselves on those and consider giving your child a phone that does not allow these types of access to strangers. I will share a few TRUE/REAL life human trafficking stories on another blog if you need further convincing on why your teens and younger students should not have access to these APPs. Boys are not exempt either, they have also been victims. If you need me to send you more details about these APPs, email me.

Take an active role in your child’s life because even when they display an attitude, deep down they truly want your involvement and will develop resentment towards you when they don’t receive it.

Lastly, do not reward bad behavior EVER, period. This sets many students up to be lawless in school because they think they can do whatever they want without any consequences. This will usually lead to a life of imprisonment and self-destruction. So never reward evil or bad behavior, with good. It just is not sustainable.

In conclusion:

  1. Teachers do not give up; the world needs you! If you are not getting the support you need, try transferring to another school or school district. They all can’t be bad. It would be worth it to be able to make a difference in a students’ life.
  2. Students enjoy being a kid as long as you can and do not try to grow up so quickly. Watch out for bad influences! This could include but is not limited to people, movies, music, books and games. You will reflect what and who you listen to.
  3. Parents, I hope this has been helpful, you truly have more influence and power than you realize, so make sure you are using your power for good.

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Wellness Tip: Choose more natural cleaning and skin products.

“What greater joy can a teacher feel than to witness a child’s success.” ~Michelle L. Graham

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

Categories
purpose

Purpose = מטרה =Σκοπός

The school bell has rung, class is now in session

I recently decided to do a Word Study on the word “purpose” because it has been a buzz word going around lately. It is also one of the most talked about words in regard to finding out one’s purpose and reason for being here on this Earth. Sometimes people feel like they are just here without reason, or they feel useless or displaced, but I have come here to tell you that YOU are most certainly on this Earth for a reason.

 

     Let’s proceed with the Word Study and at the end I will bring it all together. So first I will give the English definition of the word purpose, then the Hebrew and Greek definition.

English definition

 

Purpose – The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
By intent (Kavana): Intentionally. Having as one’s intention or object.
Hebrew definition
Purpose – That which a person sets before himself as an object, goal to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure or exertion. Intention; design, includes the end in view. Mission. Completeness.

Greek definition

Purpose – A setting forth of a thing, placing it into plain view. Predestined, foreordination, destiny, scope, train on, drive at, intention, aim.

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Right now, you may feel like the guy above, standing in the middle of a maze wondering which direction to go. Some of you may feel like you have been racing face forward down the “correct” pathway for years, aiming for purpose, only to realize that you made the wrong choice, have a setback or have wasted valuable time. Others of you may feel like you would rather avoid this mistake but sitting idled, and playing it safe, in fear of choosing the “wrong” way.

 

     So, who is right? The person who chooses to keep moving forward, not knowing if they are actually walking “in their purpose” or the person just standing still and waiting until purpose hits them in the head?

The answer solely depends on who you believe is behind your purpose. If it is driven by your human wants and desires, then you will probably change courses at will and seek out things simply to make you happy. If you are a believer, you believe your purpose is designed by God and carried out through faith in Christ.

Yes, purpose should drive you and according to the definitions above, is
also designed specifically for you, but if your faith is in your own choices, you will
become your own designer of purpose for yourself. If you are tired of steering your own ship, and are feeling lost, it is time to cast your cares on Christ. Honestly, what do you have to lose?

You may be saying, “no thanks” or “I don’t know”, but either way, the choice is yours to make. If by any chance this blog is speaking to your heart, you could turn to the Purpose Giver by a) Believing His Son died & rose b) repenting of being a sinner by realizing that redemption is impossible without Him.

After doing this, Romans 8: 28, 29a holds the key to your true God-given Purpose.
Romans 8: 28, 29a And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.

There is a perfect plan, purpose for your life, and even though you may feel you
have wasted a lot of time, God’s plan is perfect, and intentional. So much so that ALL things (the good, the bad and the ugly) will work together for good if you choose for Him to be your Designer. Otherwise, you will have to make your own way and depend on your own intellect. Be blessed.

 

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Wellness Tip: Sanitation. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

Categories
The Why behind your career

Are you Currently in the Right Position?

     The school bell has rung, class is now in session

I was listening to a lecture last night and the speaker was sharing a story of when he was the President of a University and was about to leave his position. The Academic Dean who worked for him, told him that he was interested in applying for his position and to please recommend him to the board. The speaker’s response to the Academic Dean is what sparked this post. The speaker, who happened to be the President of the university at the time, told the Academic Dean, “Please don’t take a step down to become President. You are in your anointing (your skillset and niche) as an Academic Dean, if you stepped out of that, you would be out of line with what you have been gifted to do.” As you can imagine, the Academic Dean got upset but I personally found wisdom in the speaker’s words. He told the audience if he was an Academic Dean instead of a President, he could not have done nearly as fantastic of a job as the current one because of how his skillset worked. He went on to give an illustration of his meaning.

 

The Hierarchy of a Ship

In our humanistic minds, if asked which position we would like to strive for, we always mention the top job position. If asked which job we would like on the ship, typically we would aim to be the Captain so that we could be “large and in charge,” but have you ever considered that it may not be your calling? What if you were called to support position instead of being solely in charge? Does that make you less than a person?

In most of our eyes it may appear less than because we have been conditioned to try and make it to the top. We encourage our children and students to graduate, go out there and become in charge. This is poor advice because if the person is not anointed (gifted or have that skillset) to do that; they will not have the human capital (tools) needed to succeed in those positions. This reminds me of two psychological concepts I covered in another story titled, “The No Zero Grading Policy.”

The Dunning Kruger Effect and the Peter Principle

Let’s discuss the first one, The Dunning Kruger Effect, when a person has the confidence, they can work in a higher capacity but lack the expertise to do so.

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      There are a lot of leaders operating in workplaces, churches, and volunteer organizations that are working under capacity all because they desired to be a leader and never challenged that desire. This can be combated when you have good mentors in your life, people who would encourage you to self-reflect and/or consider interning in a position in order to see if you truly have the expertise and cognitive fortitude to be in those positions.

 

Here is an illustration of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

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     The second psychological concept is The Peter Principle which simply demonstrates
that promotion for some people is actually a demotion. This is because when a person is promoted to a level in which they lack the expertise, they are essentially being promoted to a level of incompetence and will not be successful. This is what the speaker meant by telling the Academic Dean, “Please don’t step down by becoming a President.” He was talking about staying in the anointing, the skillset naturally given and not stepping outside of that area.

The opposite is The Roger Principle, which is when a person actually performs better when being challenged. This is the type of person to promote because they will flourish as the work gains more responsibility. If this type of person is not promoted, they will become stagnate and no longer work as well because the task will become mundane.

Some of you may have never heard of any of these concepts before but hopefully it will help you as you go forward and pursue what you have been purposed to do. Stop living by the world’s standards to “climb the ladder” or “reach the top” if that is not truly what is for you. Start being real with yourself by working in areas that compliment your expertise, whether you are a Peter or a Roger; you will be happier and less stressed in the long run. I recommend reading my story titled, “Purpose” it touches on this topic as well. https://schoolspiration.com/2020/05/06/purpose-מטרה-σκοπός/

Wellness Tip: Change. Let go of the past, focus on what you can do to improve your present and future.

“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.” ~Jim Rohn

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!