Anyway, I nominated a student over the weekend who's truly been a "creative" individual over the past two years. Though he isn't always at the top of the leaderboard, he and his group always go above and beyond on the production value when it comes to projects. It was only fitting that I nominate him. Today I found out some good news and some bad news:
My nominee had been selected...but he also had in-school suspension for the day.
I was excited for a moment, but then quickly embarrassed. Here's a kid I vouched for...someone I approached administration and said "this guy deserves an award!" and the very next day, he gets in trouble for something completely unrelated. Surely my judgement in character must be better than the Sultan's from Aladdin ("Excellent judge, oh yeah, sure...."). I considered for a moment pulling my support. I can't have a nominee bringing down my track record.
But then I realized that's exactly what school is all about. It's a day-to-day endeavor. One day, the students are well behaved and we have a great conversation. The next day I need to yell at them to step it up. The next day, everyone works silently and ignores me, and the day after that, it's another loud, engaging, group-work session. One of the things I'm constantly thankful for are my students' short memories. They have a unique ability to let both praise and criticism roll off their backs, and show up the next day fresh. As an adult, I sometimes find that a little harder to do, but it's essential if school is going to be both an honest and safe environment. If I fail to correct a student for fear they'll "hate" me and ignore me all year, I'll never teach them anything new. If I avoid being nice because I don't want students to think my class is enjoyable, they'll never be able to try new ideas. School lets you be a hare today, and goon tomorrow, as the old song goes. My newly awarded student, currently serving time in "the box" is a prime example. No reward nor discretion defines a student...they show up each day fresh, ready to remake themselves with their choices.