In a world obsessed with numbers, we start defining everything according to numerical checkpoints. 50% is pass, 80% is honours, 1.6% is a great rate from the bank, 1000 friends on Facebook means you’re popular, etc.
Your child comes home with a 56% in Geography (let’s say). As a parent, you think, “he passed, but he’s not ‘very good’. My kid is very capable of being very good! Why doesn’t the teacher see that.”
You’re now frustrated at the teacher, at the system, and at the school, for not recognizing your child’s true potential.
In fact, you’re TOTALLY wrong and have it backwards. The lower his mark, the more the teacher IS in fact being honest in recognizing your child’s potential.
Let me explain: If you offered your son a new car of his choice if he managed to learn all the countries and capitals of Africa in an hour, you’d be witnessing your son working at 98%.
Now, if you take this to be him working at 98%, ask him what percentage he’s worked in Geography in the last semester. You’ll find that you, your kid, and the teacher all agree that the 56% he got in Geography was already about 30% higher than what he actually deserved.
The potential of your kid is infinitely greater than most would like to admit.
As a fellow teacher once said, “If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, your brain is computing more calculations per second than the entire math curriculum of High School.”
Wait just a moment professor, you’re talking about effort, but the mark is performance, not effort. My little plumpkin tries really hard.
Let me assure you that most kids* giving it their all (or even 60% of their potential effort) for an entire semester, could pass with flying colours, and even get very high marks**.
There are obviously exceptions to every rule, but before you go to battle for better marks for Einstein, consider the above anecdote, and if need be, replace ‘new car’ with ‘a pony’.
* This does not necessarily apply to a child on an IPP or who is or should be coded.
** On the condition that the preceding foundational material was learnt and understood. (i.e. knowing that Africa is not a country before giving it all in learning all the countries and capitals of Africa)