Grade Expectations: I Can’t Imagine My Child Getting Less Than A’s

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I’m going to sound like a jerk here. I’ve accepted that fact. But I’m going to talk about this anyways. I cannot imagine accepting less than A’s from my daughter in school. In my head, I’m still stuck with the idea that perfect grades are the ultimate goal that students should be striving for. Now that I’m raising my own daughter, I’m not sure how I’ll cope if her academic career takes a different path than mine.

My mother had a 4.0 GPA through both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She went back to school while raising three young kids and working part-time. She made it very clear to all three of us that education was important. It was our number one priority.

For me, school always came easily. I have a good memory and I don’t stress out about exams. I was lucky, obviously, but I also really enjoyed learning. I cannot imagine coming home to my parents with less than an A- on a report card. It happened once in 3rd grade with a teacher that I completely despised (and who felt the same way about me) and I’ll still never forgive her for that ‘B’ in citizenship.

I feel like academic excellence has been ingrained in my programming. It’s the expectation. So what am I going to do if my daughter doesn’t have the same goals? What if A’s just aren’t as easy for her, or even possible? Will I be able to accept that outcome?

I know that plenty of children didn’t achieve straight A’s through school. And plenty of them still went on to lead successful and happy lives. My husband was not a straight A student, though he was always passing. I feel like I should be able to accept the grades that my daughter achieves, as long as I know that she worked hard. And yet, that grading scale is in my head. I’m still the college student determined to be at the head of the curve.

I sat down with my mother, a teacher and the woman who stressed the importance of perfect grades in me as a student. She was very quick to qualify that I was expected to get A’s in school because I was capable of getting A’s. If I had a difficult time learning, they wouldn’t have expected those types of grades from me. She said that it’s all about looking at kids as individuals and simply trying to help them be as successful as they can, personally.

It’s a great sentiment. And it makes sense. Yet I still find myself thinking, “Well of course my little girl will be able to get perfect grades. She’s intelligent. She’s quick. A’s won’t be a problem.” Then I have to question whether that’s reality talking, or it’s just a mom who can’t see a possible flaw in her own little girl.

My daughter is just beginning her education. I have no idea how she’ll take to the classroom, how she’ll learn. My goal is to stress the importance of working hard, instead of the percentage correct. I’m hoping that she’ll pick up an appreciation for knowledge, not just finding the right answer. But I’m going to have to work against that inner eager student, the one who spent years convinced that an A+ was perfection and perfection was always the goal.

(Photo: Olga Danylenko/Shutterstock)