Tuesday, October 20, 2009

i have a class that really cares about their grades. they are enormously competitive but at the same time they help each other out left and right. it's amazing to see. today i gave a test and they begged me to grade them on the spot. most of the class charged my desk when time was up to see how they did. they watched as i graded each and every paper waiting for them to be handed back out. there were two girls who were so anxious they were shaking.

so i graded the tests and gave them back out. after nearly everyone compared scores, something else happened. they grouped together on their own and not just compared answers but helped each other work through the examples they got wrong. in one group, a student even came up with some practice problems to give the other kids. they all took care to make sure their fellow classmates understood everything.

after this beautiful moment, a bunch of them wanted to know their averages now that a new test score was inputted. they wanted specifics. GPAs down to the nearest tenth. ranking in the class. the works. the top four students in the class are girls, and boy can they get catty. the class ended with the 97.6 average student telling the 97.8 that she wished the girl had failed so she could be #1 instead of #2. then #3 in the class, with only a 95.7 ripped up her test paper. the 92 she scored wasn't enough for her to keep the #2 spot and she was pissed. #4 in the class at least finally came to terms with her 93 average but she's still determined to be at least #3.

the competition is unbelievable. i tend to make the kids in my classes really competitive, but with just a little fuel from me, these kids have gone beyond what i've ever seen before. i can't say it's necessarily healthy because it bothered me to see the girl rip up her 92. it reminded me of my days in a specialized high school. i was a complete slacker with a 90 average.

however, i love to see the kids care so much. and by competing with each other, they're studying more, doing all their homework, complete angels in class, and constantly help out their classmates. the competition between the top four has also inspired others to compete with each other at various levels, and nearly each student is steadily raising their GPA. i'm not really sure how this happened; i guess i got lucky with a great mix of kids, but it's absolutely brilliant what's going on in that class.

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