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In Praise of the F Word - Essay Example

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This essay discusses the issue that the number of students that graduate from high school each year with a diploma that is no good for them continues to rise. This leniency has caused many students to become dependent on the niceness of their teachers…
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In Praise of the F Word
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“In Praise of the ‘F’ Word” The number that graduate from high school each year with a diploma that is no good to them continues to riseas teachers continue to be lenient with their grading. This leniency has caused many students to become dependent on the niceness of their teachers rather than on their own intelligence and duties as students. Mary Sherry, as an adult-education teacher for future students such as these, proposes to implement the threat of failure into the lives of the students that are unwilling to work for a passing grade. The last thing that a student wants to do is be held back a grade or not graduate, especially when they know they can do the work. The threat of this dreaded “F” word is a surefire way of making students work for their passing grades. While education is an important endeavor for many students, “most kids don’t put school first on their list unless they perceive something is at stake (Sherry).” If students continue to get grades based on how nice they instead of how well they are able to process and demonstrate the material that they learn, then the students will only continue to not try for their grade. After all, being given something without effort is a wonderful concept to many students as it gives them more time to engage in the activities that they actually enjoy doing. The students are being enabled by these teachers who do not necessarily give them something to aim for, so the students aim for nothing and do it with success. However, if the students are threatened with the possibility of failure, the chance is increased of them actually taking school seriously and putting it first. Flunking therefore stops being a threat and becomes a “positive teaching tool (Sherry).” It acts as the boost that many students need to take their studies more seriously and to stop relying on the goodness of their teachers. It is not in the job description of these teachers to grade based on personality or behavior of their students, but to grade based on how well they absorbed the subject matter. Similarly, “by rewarding mediocrity [teachers] discourage excellence (“Introduction”).” Students are being cheated out of an education because teachers want to appear helpful even if it means that the students will end up only being illiterate. By giving grades that students do not deserve or by inflating them to be more than they are worth, teachers are only discouraging students from actually receiving an education. If they can get a good, passing grade without trying, then the students are not going to try. They will find out the hard way that their sympathy grades mean nothing when they attempt to apply for a job or send out their transcripts to colleges and are turned down. By putting the fear of failure into the students and assigning them grades based on what they actually deserve, students will have more of an initiative to try harder to obtain a passing grade. As Sherry states, “it’s time we return [the opportunity to succeed or fail] to all students.” Read More
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