Awards in School

Brandi - posted on 01/20/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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What are you supposed to do when your kindergartener does not get an award at school? What do you do when you feel like your child's teacher and school does not like your child?

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Katrina - posted on 01/22/2013

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Last year (in Aus school goes from Feb to Dec), at the awards ceremony for the kids, ALL the kids were recognised with a certificate which was made just for them ie For "Jane" for her readiness to always be a friend to others, for "Joe" for his exuberance and comical ways etc...
They also had the proper awards, for best in English, Math, Science, etc that went to one child per award. They were medals which hung around their necks.

I don't like EVERYONE getting an award because I believe that it makes them lazy..."don't worry about not doing your best, because we'll reward you anyway" (the real world doesn't have those things so they shouldn't be taught that way) but I do LOVE the kids all getting a certificate which points out good things about who they are.

Saying that, if the child is not the best and does not achieve the highest marks etc, but they have put in the effort anyway, THAT deserves recognition. Maybe not by the school but as a parent, I would be lavishing praise on them for doing their best.

Denikka - posted on 01/22/2013

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I can agree with you Jodi. Awards shouldn't JUST be academic. But I have known of many instances where it's just a *catch all* award for every kid, just so EVERY kid has one.
Just as an example, in my elementary school, we used to have a sports day once a year. There were 4 teams, evenly split between all the grades (K-7), then those 4 teams were broken up into smaller teams (roughly 8 kids to a team-one for each grade) and we rotated through about 15 different events).

There were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons for each event (not real sports, things like bean bag tosses, leap frog, etc). At the end, the points were tallied and the 4 teams were ranked 1, 2, 3 and 4.
There were team player awards, VIP awards, good sportsmanship awards, etc for each grade. Some of the events were based purely on luck, so ability didn't even always play in. The kids were encouraged to let other kids who hadn't yet won a ribbon win and event so that they could win the ribbons. And...if, by and SMALL chance, a kid didn't get a ribbon through all that, there was a *participation* ribbon for everyone who showed up.
That's the crap and overkill I was talking about.

In school award ceremonies, many kids got awards. Not always academic, but for an assortment of things. Most helpful, best reader, best attendance, etc, along with the usual honour role, principals list (all A's), and outstanding achievement (for those kids who did something really great for the school or community). There was also a *good effort* award for those kids who hadn't made honour role but had struggled and done their best to master the lessons. Not everyone got an award during those ceremonies. But there were always multiple kids in each category, usually a few from each grade (except outstanding achievement, that one usually only had one or two kids at a time. Sometimes there was a group who had worked together).
That's fine. But I don't think that a kid needs to be held up in front of their school and awarded for having the *best smile* or *nicest hair* because there was nothing else to award them for, just for the sake of giving each kid an award.

I've heard of sports leagues, especially for younger kids, where they don't keep score. It's an official game, but they refuse to label *winners* and *losers* just in case the *losers* feel bad.

Not every kid needs to be up on a pedestal. If you do something worthwhile, make good grades, do something extra for the school or community, go out of your way to make life better for others, etc...then yes, that should be rewarded.
I do agree that teachers should help a student find their strengths and reward them for that, but giving a reward just for the sake of giving a reward is pointless. That's like a normal, healthy person saying *hey, I deserve a bonus because I actually showed up every shift for the last week and did my minimal job*.
Rewarding for the sake of rewarding takes away all the meaning for those who have worked hard and actually deserve to be rewarded for their effort.

Jodi - posted on 01/20/2013

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I actually disagree with Denikka on one aspect of this - there should be awards for all sorts of thing. Every child is a winner at SOMETHING, and a good teacher will find what that something is, and encourage it. Awards should never only be academic, IMO. My children's schools give out awards for children for their co-operation in the playground, their neatness, their assistance with cleaning the classroom, and so on, and these are qualities that should also be rewarded.

However, with regard to the OP, do you mean your child just hasn't received an award yet? Do they give them out consistently over the course of the year, or is it just one big award ceremony? Do they give out awards for lots of different things, or is it only for academic and sporting achievement?

Denikka - posted on 01/20/2013

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I'd use it as a teaching moment.
I HATE all the awards and crap that go on just so every kid gets something. Not everyone can be a winner or be the best. There have to be the losers, second best, third best, worst, etc.
Just teach your kid to try harder for the next time. With effort comes rewards.

If you feel that the school is being unfair to your child (specifically is finding things to go against him, make his life miserable, picking on him, etc), then switch schools. If it's just a matter of the school not holding your son up like a bright shiny star all the time...I'd have to say those are the breaks.

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