My principal thinks every third grader should receive an award. What do you think? I feel most deserve an award, but just giving a child an award when they have not earned one is not really doing them any favors. I feel that we devalue the other awards earned when we just make up an award to give to a students who is a behavior problem and does not put forth effort with their school work. I believe every child has gifts, but maybe their gifts are in areas I do not see at school. I wonder what others think.
Is every teacher at your school Teacher of the Year or is there just one. Do you all get an award or an atta boy for things you do? If not then every child should not get an award either. This is the real world where there are hundreds of job applicants for 1 job. Let's get real.
Boy...this is a tough one for me. I am going to assume these awards will be given at an assembly...in which case I can see both sides of the argument. It would be nice if everyone got an award...however, I have to agree with you...awards are for people who earn them. What are the chances you are going to convince your principal of this?? Is it worth rocking the boat??
Now...to get around all the fuss...skip the assembly...put these awards in report card envelopes and only the child who gets it will know about it. Recognition can be done within the family, and you can write a special note to the winners. In this case, you could also give a certificate of recognition to those who had good attendance, did well on state testing, only made half the hair on your head turn gray, were the best pencil sharpener you ever taught, kept the classroom library well-organized, deserve the clean desk award...you get the picture!
Good luck!! I would love to know how all of this turns out!!
We have the same stupid expectations at our school. It's a waste of time and money - even the kids know it's a farce. But so many kids (or their parents) today expect to get something just for showing up. It is insane!
.to get around all the fuss...skip the assembly...
Wish that worked - we have parents come to the awards ceremony at our school - If I didn't take my class, I'd be in deep doo-doo.
and parents do attend. They receive nine weeks awards and end of year awards as well. Students who received all A's for the last grading period receive a ribbon. Students who make A's and B's also receive a ribbon. Then students who had good citizenship grades receive an award. If students were not absent during the last grading period they receive a ribbon.
Then perfect attendance for the year are given. AR awards are given to children who earn 150 points or more. Then the Art, PE and Music teacher give awards.
With all those categories almost everyone receives some kind of recognition. If there are students who have worked hard, but struggled all year I have no problem giving them a special award for their effort in a certain subject. It is that one or two students a year who behave badly and no have no work ethic I have a problem with. When I give crazy and fun awards in class everyone receives one, but for the assembly I feel they need to have earned it. I know I can not change my principal's mind, but I just feel this is wrong. The students all know that other student does not deserve an award and then that child feels entitled to an award next year as well, because everyone gets an award, right?
Maybe I should have written this in VENT, but I am curious what others think and do.
Every child should not get an award! I'm sick of our society making everyone feel good and hurting no one's self-esteem. Real life is not that way. Our third graders get honor roll and perfect attendance. If they are in a club a certificate is given. The higher grades get the same awards, but more club certificates are included. One award that is really worthy is the Presidential Academic Award. It is based on academic achievement through sixth grade.
We have to give EVERY child at least TWO awards. DRIVES me crazy! Honestly, some kids have done NOTHING all year either academically or behaviorally. We are already trying to come up with "things" as the awards are due soon. UGH!
We have to give everyone something, too, but I'm against it.
For the one's that didn't really earn anything, we give them an Eagle (or whatever your mascot is) Spirit award. The kids like it, we don't have to explain it to the parents because they know better than to ask, and it kind of makes us laugh! "Oh, yes, he has Eagle Spirit all right!"
I am glad, because 4 of my kiddo's would get the award for the most suspensions or fights.
I do try to focus on the good things they do in class, but for some it is extremely hard.
I do give awards in class for the Best Reader, (Highest AR) or Best Cursive Writing, All time Champion of Around the World, Best Comedian, Caring Citizen Award, Scariest Story Written, Funny Stories, Best Memory Story ect...
Just fun ones.
Yeah, I think if everyone gets an award in front of the school just "for breathing....." it does devalue what you're doing and trying to celebrate about the real award winners.
But.....I also think there's value in finding something positive to say about everyone. I have had to be mighty creative over the years! So, the last day of school I have my own awards "assembly" for the kids - some parents do attend, but it's not that big of a thing. It's a nice way - for me - to end the year on a positive note and praise those quiet plodders who always come to book group prepared, or do homework consistently, or have a fabulous smile, or never give up or just make improvement in something we, as a class, are probably aware of. Like they struggled with reading and now are into (easy) chapter books. those kinds of awards. Yeah, some kids get 3 or 4, and some kids might get 1, but each child has the experience of standing before their peers and hearing them applaud.
But to reward these things in front of the whole school sounds deadly dull and inappropriate. Good lucik!
I had to do this at another school. There are always a few kids that gave us fits. We used the mascot award, creativity award, athletics award, and other obscure "awards" for those students. Some were really tough.
Just another example of society making everyone special therefore no one is special. It was such a joke and the worst part is they made us come up and pass out the awards ourselves.
I no longer feel like a grumpy old teacher. I know I have to do what my principal asks me to do and that the whole team needs to be consistent for the sake of all third graders. However, I do have my own opinion and I am glad to know I am not the only teacher who feel this way. I hope the students who receive these made up awards can make the adjustment to the real world some day where they will not be complimented for just breathing and taking up space. I agree that every one is special, but to display that specialness still takes effort.
Man, I am right there with the others who posted about having to give every kid an award. It takes away the specialness of achieving, and I worry that we're discouraging the kids who push hard to excel. For a few years, our prince didn't even want us to publicly recognize the kids who got commended on their state tests, b/c we might make the ones who didn't get the high scores feel bad. Well, boo-hoo. We did it last year anyway!
Hmm...maybe we could start giving out "Good Enuff" awards. We certainly do have to be creative w/ some, but I absolutely love the idea of the spirit award. I'm going to use that one this year!
Having been the parent of a child who fell through the cracks- DS said awards day was the worst day of the year. He always felt stupid and worthless. No, he didn't deserve an academic award, but when you are the only child whose name isn't called...I don't think primary students are yet able to connect the dots here.
Our school has Christian character awards. Every child receives one of these. Not all students receive academic awards, though, and we try to spread them out, meaning that we don't let one student walk away with all the awards.
I have a son who didn't really stand out in anything one year. He was not a troublemaker, but that one year (fifth grade), he just sort of drifted through. DH went to his classroom at least twice a week to make sure he was turning in all his work and staying on task. It was a bad year for him and for his teacher. At the end of the year, he was the only one in the class that did not get an award. He was crushed.
I know that it's hard to find something positive about every kid, but if you're not going to give an award to everyone, then please don't leave just one or two out.
I can see not giving awards to kids who are behavior problems or who deliberately set out to cause problems, but some kids just go through some tough times at certain times in their lives. We need to be sensitive to that. What's more important? The child's feelings, or ours. Next year, you won't care or remember whether or not a certain child received an award. But that child may remember the pain of it for several years to come.
My motto has always been "No one is good at everything. But everyone is good at something." I do give out an award to everyone in my class at the end of the year, because I truly believe those words. The awards are not all academically based. They are sports related, attitude related etc. and of course academically related. Sometimes you have to look really hard and you have to get to know your students really well as complete individuals, but if you start earlier enough in the year and think about it all year, the award categories pop into your mind much more easily.
I agree to not leave somebody out. That's why I'm glad we don't do awards as described. We've given a 'you passed __ grade' certificate in the past. This is our first year to have somebody 'fail'. Certificates haven't been mentioned and our end-of-year program is in 1.5 weeks. I won't open my mouth.
We've been recognizing good grades each quarter by getting pictures in the newspaper. My predecessor gave all A's. Very few were earned. (A different thread would be needed to expound...)
I think a lot of it depends on the spirit of the giver and, as the pp said, whether they really buy into it or are doing it because they have to.
When my daughters were in kindergarten (yes, twins) one of them got an academic award and the other got the "smile" award. My five year old "smiler" was certainly not smiling on the way home. She cried all the way home and said "EVERYONE SMILES." She knew she'd gotten a non-award and was hurt and embarrassed by it.
I think it makes a difference if you're really trying to find something specific and applicable, if you believe in what you're doing, and you make it individualized. But if we're just giving the kids smile buttons so they won't feel left out, we shouldn't feel like that builds their self esteem.
In that situation, it would have been better for her not to receive an award and to work harder next nine weeks for genuine recognition.
There has to be positive aspects of these children that you can focus on even if you have to make up new awards for them. Not everyone deserves academic awards but just because they are not hard workers does not mean they don't deserve an award at all. Dig hard - find something positive, give the award. Sometimes these kids have parents who do not make them feel special and then to not receive an award at school can only make them feel worse.
At my school we do awards EVERY 9 weeks. AND Every student has to receive at least one award. Usually my team does 2 - 3 awards for each child EVERY nine weeks. however, I convienced them to do only 1. However, as we are approaching our last award ceremony the team (not me) decided we needed to give each kid 3 - 4.
You are so right when you say that the kid sknow it is a joke. I have even had kids turn in their homework on their award. That is how much it means to them. Oh well....
I have heard of this before. A friend in another district has to come up with an award for each child. I think it's ridiculous. It's not real-life and only sets kids up for disappointment in the future.
Can you imagine how long awards ceremonies would be if every child recieved an award! It could take all day! But then again, I work in a K-11 school (will be up to 12th grade next year.) I guess that makes a difference.
Awards handed out at an awards ceremony should be for the best of the best, and maybe for the most improved student or two in each class. If a teacher likes to give every child an award, then do it the day before in the classroom. Last year I busted my tail trying to make sure every student ended up with some kind of award (either before the awards ceremony or during it.) I wont' be doing that again. I even had one parent who didn't feel like her child should have received any type of award and she told me so the next day! Go figure?
What's the point in working toward all A's or A's and B's if I'll get rewarded even if I fail everything?
I don't agree that school officials should prevent a student from walking away with all of the awards. In the real world, some people have talents and abilities that are different from others and some will use them to their advantage, while others don't. Any student who HONESTLY wins an award, regardless of type, should be able to walk away with it. The purpose is for recognition and encouragement. I realize that there are students who will feel inferior to such students who win multiple awards, but learning dealing with disappointment and aspiring to better themselves are basic life skills that will serve them much better than giving an award just because we want everyone to have an award. Parents can do much to encourage their children and bolster their positive traits, for which they won't always be recognized in public. That is part of our jobs as parents. Childhood is the time for learning what our talents are and for developing them. Children will progress at different rates and in different directions. Which is more productive and beneficial?
We also give each child an award at the end-of-the-year Awards Assembly. (We're a small school, but it still takes awhile.) In our case, I think it's a good thing. We use this time to spotlight each child for positive traits we've noticed. (And as one post said, every child has one!) It seems to mean something because we always say something personal as we hand out the awards. Our school is like a family anyway and spending 15-20 minutes recognizing each child in the school for something is a worthwhile use of time, I think, and it means more to them than doing it in the class would. We also give out academic awards, perfect attendance, leadership awards, etc. So some students do get more while others get just one, but as was stated--that's part of life--and achievement should be rewarded.
Some of my non-academic awards this year: Caring Heart, Creative Thinker, Sense of Humor, Class Artist, Nature Lover, Loyal Friend... Actually one of my little boys who would never earn academic accolades is one of the best helpers in my class. He is amazing at explaining difficult concepts (after he's finally mastered them!!) and being so patient. I keep teasing him that he's going to be asking for part of my check one day!!
I think there needs to be a balance between helping every child feel worthwhile and the reality that effort does pay off and in life we don't get an award for doing nothing! (That I think was the point of the OP--if a child is truly making no effort in anything, I would agree, no award of any kind.)