When the girls first started school, I had no real expectations regarding grades. I was just happy when a day went well. By second grade it was readily apparent that schoolwork was not hard for them, although getting them to do it could be very challenging.
So then, I felt rather obligated to insist they do their best, and kept track of their grades, encouraging and reinforcing good grades. And Lily hit fourth grade and grades slipped as issues grew, and grades weren't so important again.
Do the best you can and don't sweat it if you get a bad grade has been my motto this year, whether out of necessity or wisdom, I wouldn't presume to guess.
Overall the girls have responded to my nonjudgmental acceptance of any grade by doing very well, but sometimes there are off days and their work shows that. Today Rosie came home with a spelling test where she'd missed every word. She cried as she showed me, distraught.
I'm a teacher, so I should feel something about the grade, right? I don't. It's not that I don't care. I want her to do well, but it's one test, one day, one tiny, insignificant snapshot. In the long run, one poor performance doesn't mean anything more than one poor performance.
I hugged her, told her I loved her, and that it was okay, it was one test. We looked at this week's words and she smirked. She can spell all those--they're easy. And with that, maybe she learned the value of one grade has nothing at all to do with her value. There's always another day, another chance. And some weeks, the shit is so easy, she's got this, no problem, no sweat. Thank heavens for those weeks.