Sorry, Teacher

Mui came home on Friday with a note on her weekly progress report and a test scored 64% attached. Her teacher stated that Mui was not on task and asked that she check her work before turning it in. When I reviewed the test, there were some understandable errors, sowing, instead of sewing. But the glaring mistakes were due to carelessness, “He will fixed the car.” and not completing 2 problems at all. I was pissed. I asked her what she was doing during the test such that she could not finish her test AND check for errors? No answer.

This morning I gave her an assignment. She must write a note to apologize to her teacher. When asked if she understood why, she said “Because I did badly on the test?” Um. No. I explained to her that her teacher takes great pains and spends a lot of time preparing lessons so she and her classmates can learn. If she made the effort to learn and truly did not understand, that is ok. We can work on that. But NOT making an effort to learn or making a half-assed effort is unacceptable. Being careless on her tests and assignments (likely because she was projecting managing another kid’s test taking) is unacceptable. It shows disrespect to the teacher and takes her and her efforts for granted.

Taking things and people for granted is a huge sore spot for me. My children will never want for anything. And because of that, they can easily slip into being ungrateful and entitled. “It’s Mom’s job to cook for me.” “It’s my teacher’s job to teach me.” No thought is given to what their job is or what efforts they must make to maintain the social compact. Children, and a lot of adults for that matter, view their role in this world as takers, not receivers. You cannot take with grace. You cannot take and appreciate. You can only receive, because all things that matter are given. Like love, attention, family, friendship, trust, respect. And when things are given, you receive and you say thank you. And you make every effort to not squander what you are given.

So after homework today, before going to bed, Mui will write a note to her teacher. And hopefully, this will help her appreciate that she has a great teacher. And will help her remember to put in the effort to learn from her.


  1. Christie Said,

    March 26, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    Love this – I’m going to keep this idea in mind when Evie is old enough. Great way to give a child a sense of perspective early.

  2. Kevin Said,

    March 26, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    There was a study a few years ago that said rewarding effort was better than rewarding results, especially for smart kids. If you only reward results then the kids learn to fear failure and stop trying. Kids who had their effort praise would do better on restesting because they are willing to try, fail, and learn from their mistakes. Whereas, if a smart kid doesn’t “get” something right away they my avoid it and not even try because they don’t want to fail. These kids will never make the mistake in the first place and, thus, never learn from it.

  3. nonstick Said,

    March 26, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    @Kevin I heard that, too. It’s interesting and I can totally see it. The girl complains that things are “too hard” if they don’t come easily, because so much does. And i have to explain that everything worth having you have to work for.

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