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I grew up in the average classes. No honors until high school for history, no above average math or any of those tracks. As a future educator I do not know how much I believe in these academic tracks, even though I understand that some students need more or less.

But I know people from home that were in those tracks and I see how it has shaped them even today. Where they need that grade or number to feel anything good about themselves. And again, as a future educator this kills me inside, because that number or letter means nothing. You could have had a bad test taking day, didn’t fully understand the assignment, 100 possibilities could have happened, and it breaks my heart to know that some people define themselves by that.

I ask my students when they are done with work, did you do your best? If they answer yes, I say that is all that matters then. When I have my own classroom, I want to encourage students to make themselves proud with their work. That if you are proud of what you did and if you did your best, THAT is what truly matters. I feel like this helps foster a better classroom environment, as I have had teachers who give back tests in the order of the grade and shows students that they are more than that grade.

Some students are not into school and that is okay, we all have different strengths, but I never ever want to make someone feel bad about themselves because of their grade, because all in all, it doesn’t mean anything.

I am terrible at science but I excel in political science and history. I am terrible with grammar and spelling, but I know how to teach. Just because I failed every single science exam my freshman year at colleges means nothing because one, I don’t have to worry about science ever again, and two, I’m still graduating.

I had a teacher my freshman year of high school, who said if I didn’t have to give you a grade I would not. She was the best teacher I ever had. She would review the test with us afterwards and give back points because she knew knowing and understanding the content was way more important than that test grade.

My parents even asked when we were younger when we came home with a bad math test (it was always math or science), did you study, and did you do your best? That was all the questions and then it was maybe start studying a couple days before and we just left at that. Obviously if we kept failing then they got involved more, but it fostered this environment where YOUR best matters, not someone else’s because we all have different bests.

So, as we enter final season, I know it is easy to get swept up in GPAs and grades and all that. But try to remember three things. Remember why you started. Make yourself proud. Do your best. Hopefully some of the stress will be gone. Because you matter. Your health matters and your sleep and eating matter more than any number or grade. I promise you.

Sarah Elizabeth

Monmouth '21

Sarah is currently a senior history/political science secondary education major with a minor in sociology. Her biggest dream in life is to be a middle or high school history teacher or to open up her own coffee shop. She loves dogs, strawberries, hiking and green tea.
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