Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Everybody Wins (Except That They Don't)

It's a big week around here. The. Last. Week. Of. School. This is the week Sk8trboi has his 'Continuation' ceremony in celebration of moving from Elementary School to Jr. Hi. MadManda's cramming for finals. Thursday, Miss M goes on the class trip to an amusement park and tonight she had her Class Unit's awards ceremony.

This is a week that is bound to make me angry. This week I have already watched one child and will doubtless watch another participate in a gathering in which all children are supposed to be honored. What I will see instead is a program in which the same half dozen kids are recognized, some receive token acknowledgement and others are almost completely forgotten.

Here's my rant: if you are going to reward excellence and excellence only, then do so. Put together an event where you stress and reward those who have put in the time and effort and who have earned recognition. I respect that. However, if you are going to design (and advertise)a ceremony where everybody is recognized, even if their performance may honestly be mediocre; make darn sure you recognize everybody.

Please DONT pretend to recognize everybody when you aren't. Don't give out 'awards specially designed for each child' when 75% are fill-in-the-blank participation certificates and the other 25% are not-so-thinly-veiled awards for being popular. Please DONT put together a PowerPoint slide show that you call Class Memories when what you really mean is Memories of the Cool Kids with some Partially Visible Nerds/Geeks/Weirdos/Losers Thrown In Because We Have a List We Have to Complete. We know the score, so please don't humor us. Please don't insult us by designing fake awards ceremonies and then go on to recognize only those who fit whatever image it is you happen to like this week.

If you want to reward excellence, by all means do so. No one questions a champion's right to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. If, however, you are presenting something as all-inclusive, please insure you include everybody. It might not seem like much but try explaining the difference to the kid you forgot.

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