My rookie FTC Robotics kids and I keep joking around that next weekend at our first qualifier, we do NOT want to get the "Bless Your Heart" award. We will go in and do our best and be happy with it, and if we make improvement from the scrimmage before, then we will consider it a success. We have learned a ton and will be way better next year. We actually have a working robot, but things are still in pieces and kids are busy and bla bla bla. So, we'll see. And, no, we don't need your pity, judges, thank you very much. We rock!
I don't know if they even give such awards, but I feel they do. You know, the "good job" and "you've come a long way considering ...." and "best looking design" and such. Maybe their hearts are in the right place, but in my mind, the subtext is, "oh, you poor things, here's something just for showing up with all you sad sack ways and don't feel bad for being such a loser".
Then that started me thinking about how I approach my students. I was JUST grading some IR quizzes for calculus (immediate recall quizzes ... things I want them to know like the alphabet .... thank you AP Summer Institute for the idea). One student has been struggling a ton with life things and managing her studying and such. I know she's smart, and I know she can do it, and I know she's been struggling.
I THOUGHT I was grading her paper, and the person was doing really well, and they just missed a problem because they didn't hear it right. I started to write on the paper and finished writing: "you WOULD have gotten it right if that was the problem". Then I'm glancing at the name on the paper, and it's another kid, an uber smart kid, and I found myself thinking, "oh if I'd have known it was her, I would have just marked it wrong, and she would have figured out what happened."
Ackh! Here I was handing out a "Bless Your Heart" Award. And I'm sure the recipients probably react just the same way I do. I'm basically patting the kid on the head and implying that she can't handle it.
Oy! Need to self monitor better and treat everyone like the rock stars I know they are and can be.