Life Lessons Of A Mom: Grades Don’t Matter

report cardI’ve been thinking again lately, (yes, I know, I know.) Being a mom has taught me your children’s grades in school don’t matter. No, really, hear me out.

I used to think it was important for my kids to get good grades. What do good grades mean? All A’s Maybe a B thrown in here or there. I believed good grades equaled success in school. Well, that’s not necessarily true. Doing your best, and if that best is a C, then that equals success everywhere.

What I really think is every student should start out with an A in class and then have to keep it. If they believe they’re already good at the subject odds are they’ll rise to the occasion. Have you ever seen that movie Stand and Deliver starring Edward James Olmos? I love that movie. Why? Because a math teacher gets assigned to teach the “slow” kids. The kids the school decided, probably based on grades, these kids weren’t going to amount to much. (Okay, they also lived in a poor community. That didn’t help their case either.) But their teacher, (played by Olmos) says, “I’m going to teach them Calculus and they will take the AP exam.” Everyone thought he was nuts, but you know what? He did it. And those kids did it! And every year after that more and more kids took that AP exam and passed. The moral: believe in yourself and the grades will follow. It shouldn’t be the other way around.

Thank you community.flixster.com
Thank you community.flixster.com

In the grand scheme of life, what Noodge 2 gets in 6th grade science doesn’t matter. I don’t remember what I got in 6th grade science. I barely remember taking a science class. But you might be saying, “Stacey, good grades in middle school mean my child will be in the advanced classes in high school.” Here’s the hard fact: if your child’s best is a C in any given subject then in high school they shouldn’t be in that advanced class. Simple. Sorry. I know people who hire tutors so their child can be in the high school AP class. That child doesn’t belong in that class if they can’t get the grades by themselves.

“But what about college? If they aren’t in enough AP classes they won’t get into a good college.” I am quite certain there is a college out there for every student who wishes to go. And the real hard truth is, unless you’re going to an Ivy League school, it doesn’t matter which college you go to. Why? Because what you do with your life after college is what really matters. In other words, if you get a 4.0 in college, but you sit on your lazy butt, eating Cheetos in your mother’s basement who cares what grades you got in college. Do you know what was an eye opener for me? On all my job interviews shortly after I graduated college not one person asked to see my transcripts! I kept thinking, but don’t you want to see my wonderful grades? The answer: A BIG FAT NO! It didn’t matter and that was the simple truth.

I tell this story all the time, but I’m going to tell it again. My friend’s mother sat in a meeting with her son’s guidance counselor waiting to hear the status of her son’s success in school. Guidance Counselor, “Someone has to be the garbage man.” That young man is now a full blown adult with teenagers of his own and he is a biochemical engineer. I bet he got a C in 6th grade science. Maybe even a C in high school chemistry. Who knows and who cares?

Let me give you one more. I know someone who was kicked out of college because their grades weren’t good enough. Kicked out. Told not to come back until you attend the community college and get better grades. That person is a teacher today. What have we learned so far? Grades don’t matter. It’s what you do after that counts.

I no longer care what grades my kids get in school. I expect them to do their best all the time. No slacking. If the best is an A, then I’d better see an A. If the best is a C, so be it. There’s always next year or the year after that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. If you comment, I promise to give you an A.

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8 thoughts on “Life Lessons Of A Mom: Grades Don’t Matter

  1. You go, Stacey! As it happens, I got good grades through school. And if you go to grad school, yes, someone will want to see your transcript (as they will if you want to be certified as a teacher or school media specialist).

    But the reality is, your life does NOT depend upon a report card. It depends upon you. Your conduct as a person. Your perseverance and your hard work and your many good qualities and yes, your belief in yourself.

    Great post today!

    1. Let me tell you a little story. When I applied to Grad school I had to take the GREs. I’m the worst standardized test taker. I studied my butt off for that test and when I got my scores I thought I’d ruined any chance for Grad school. Not true. I was accepted and while I attended (I didn’t finish because I had Noodge 1) I had a 3.95 GPA. My scores didn’t matter.

      You said it well. “Your life depends on you.”

  2. Reblogged this on youraverageschoolgirl and commented:
    You ever felt like all that matters when your report card comes home is the perfect grades? A page full of A*s and As. Maybe ‘unfortunately’ a B? Well, do they really matter? They are just letters on paper and you know what? Over time they will change. Whether you get a B or an F you will improve and maybe one day you will find yourselves in better jobs than even the A* students are in. We can’t be amazing at everything can we? We’re only human.

    1. Thank you for the reblog! You are right about how grades change. School is like a yoga practice. Every day you come to the mat and learn something different. Some days your practice rocks. Other the days, you struggle with the basic poses. It’s all okay. There’s always tomorrow. And we can be amazing at whatever we put our minds to! Don’t sell yourself short!

  3. Hmmm. I’ve got Younger Son who will hopefully prove you right, lol. I’m on board with pretty much everything you shared. Think I had two requests for my transcripts: one to prove I’d taken all my occupational therapy courses and render me eligible to take the national registration exam; the other when I applied for my NYS license.

    As per the rest, in the scheme if things, what matters was that I passed. Funny: I was wait listed to get into the OT program at my college, and the last to get in that year. IDK that I’m any worse a clinician than those who qualified before me.

    Great post!

      1. Not sure asking for my transcripts furthered my ‘formal’ education in any way. All that did was prove I had the credentials needed for my certificate and license. The Cs in Psychology and math translated every bit as well as the As in my English courses, lol.

        You are very kind with your words, Stacey. Thank you. I like what I do and absolutely love my students. Doing it 2x/week (vs 4) would help love it that much more. 😉

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