Well, I took the plunge, if only briefly: I unchecked the 'count this towards final grade' box in my online gradebook.
This meant that while I was still grading, still testing and still teaching, my students did not have a posted average that they could access online. Their reaction? One class seemed pretty nonplussed; one class nearly took my head off.
"There are our grades. Don't we have a right to know what they are?"
"We need to know what our averages are so we know how we're doing in class."
"How are we supposed to improve if we don't know our grade?"
"How are we supposed to apply to universities if we don't know what our average is?"
I was surprised by the reactions, and by which students seemed the most outraged: the students who were the most disengaged in class. Of course, this likely confirms my worst fear- that these students are disengaged in class because they truly see no connection between what goes on in class and what their grade is. As in, they only 'turn on' on the days there is a test. Oh, my breaking heart.
Yes, motivation and engagement and interest are my job (at least, that's what Twitter tells me most nights) and honestly, I don't think I'm doing too badly on that front. (And the war metaphor rears its ugly head once again). What is with all these parenthetical statements? Ugh, hopefully regular blogging help refine my writing style.
Anyway, my little rebellion didn't last too long; I was quickly told to stop messing around with my gradebook by the assistant principal, and I don't really mind. For a few days it felt like I was having a professional identity crisis, and while I recognize that discomfort and resistance create change and stuff, it was still an uncomfortable moment. Anyway, the moment has passed. I think my point was made to the students- it turns out that a lot of them heard me when I told them my fears point blank: that they were addicted to their grades.
Next post: The Intervention...