By: Jade Ford
One of the most stressful factors in the average teenager’s life is meeting grade expectations. When the previous generation was in high school, students were expected to be more self sufficient with their grades compared to high schools today.
Students were expected to keep up with their teacher in order to maintain good grades, while that is still expected, teachers today have much more experience as to what strategies work with students and which do not.
Attleboro High School (AHS) sophomore Kyle Dupre said, “We get report cards every trimester and there’s only three. It’s a letter grade/number grade and we get them in school in advisory-much like a homeroom at other schools. Attendance at AHS affects grades only to a certain extent, like if you’re absent for too long, your house office guidance counselor starts taking away credits. If you’re bad in class the teacher won’t make an effort to push you because they’ll think you don’t care.”
AHS sophomore Hydie Turner said, “Some teachers don’t let you stay after to make up work, only for tests but not class work or homework.”
Educators today provide more opportunities to students who need help with raising their grades up and are more able to offer such help to students like after school time and communicating via email or a class website. Sometimes detentions are used to help ensure a student is caught up with the class when they’re slacking.
AHS senior Scott Querzoli said, “If you’re a jerk to the teacher and you disrespect him, then he’s not going to bother to help you or want to show you respect either. Then you’re just on your own.”
High schools years ago didn’t offer as many helpful opportunities like academic enrichment, which is not mandatory and still not always offered today on a regular basis. Students could ask the teacher during class for extra help or could form their own study groups among friends and fellow students.
AHS guidance counselor Mrs. Joanne Ginalski said, “Not all teachers offer academic enrichment, some do, but not all.”
This is not to say that teachers today are more equipped than those who taught in previous generations but that the teachers fresh out of college have more “modern” teaching methods. For some students the older teachers are better because of their experience with many different types of learners, but older teachers don’t always use their experience as a benefit.
AHS 1991 alumni Jennifer Pineo, who is sophomore Jade Ford’s mother, said, “If you wanted to stay after or get help or make up work, you had to show the initiative. My teachers never offered any of that to me or to the class; you had to go up and ask yourself.”
As well as wanting to succeed, attitude was and continues to be an important factor in students’ grades. If the students come to class prepared, their teachers are more apt to ensure their success without handing it to them on a silver platter, especially if the teacher feels the student requires their help.
AHS 1990 alumni Michael Pineo said, “Teachers weren’t allowed to take away points or fail a student just because they misbehaved; that was against the rules I’m pretty sure.”
In school, grades revolve around the effort put forth but respect does certainly have an impact on a teacher’s attitude toward students; the respect a student has for their teacher and vice versa, can drastically affect a student’s academic performance. A respectful student could be praised for good work and then be motivated to continue to excel, but a disrespectful student could be lectured about their behavior rather than pushed to better their grades.
Parents try to put an image in their child’s mind of how successful they could be as long as they truly apply themselves, so the expectation of receiving that stellar grade tends to outweigh the desire to strive for a preferred life.
As students gain more experience with teachers, the heavy weight of excelling in high school tends to lessen and instead turns into a yearning to achieve what a student really wants and not so much what parents and teachers want.