Our family checked out the calendar last night. Our tween daughter has just four weeks of school left, and two of those are short weeks, meaning that there are just 18 days of sixth grade left. And it was then that the lessons learned in math class completely unrelated to numbers began to emerge.
She got a little jumpy about her grade in math, which isn't quite where she'd like it. She thought she had more time to improve her grade. Nope. Think she's learning a valuable lesson about not getting behind.
I know that in some of her classes, extra credit is available. I asked if that was the case in math class.
"Ohhhhh noooooooo!" she told me, appalled that I would even ask.
She then proceeded to recite what her math teacher, a man who has served in the Navy and is just weeks away from retirement, told their class about extra credit:
There is no chance for extra credit in the real world. When you have a job and you do a project for your boss, you have to get it right the first time. If it doesn't go well, you don't get to ask for a do-over or extra credit. In fact, you may get fired. If you're lucky enough to not get fired, you have to wait until the next opportunity comes along to make things right. School is to prepare kids for the real world and so there is no extra credit, do-overs or anything like that in math class.
When she was done, I felt 2 things:
1. Embarrassment at having even asked about the possibility, and
2. Enormous gratitude for this math teacher.
Thank you, sir, for educating my child not only about numbers but also about how the real world works.
Thank you for making sure that she knows that there are consequences to not doing your best.
Thank you for making sure that she has an opportunity to learn these very valuable lessons now.
And I promise to never ask about extra credit again.
(I would tell all this to the teacher but I'm a little worried that a note this week after last week's note for Teacher Appreciation Week makes me look a little like a stalker, and the real world doesn't like those either. I'll wait until the end of the year.)
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