Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I don't like Report Cards

I have thoroughly enjoyed our YMCA shrimp swim class.  Reid rarely fusses and has eagerly been a part of each class activity.  He's been dunked. He's floated lazily with the support of a life jacket. He loves to crawl after balls in the shallow pool or kick and reach for floating toys in the deeper pool.

I remember his first pool experience. He shivered from the cold and refused to venture off on his own.  He sat snuggled up next to me and watched all the other kids play. Later, in Cleveland, he cried and panicked each time we put him in the water. I can see clearly how the swim class has made him a stronger swimmer. Sure, he's only 9 months old, but the steps toward bravery are enormous.

That, is the success I feel from the class. Reid now enjoys pooltime. Yeah!

Tonight I was shocked to find out that on Wednesday, our last class, the kids will each be given a report card.

Seriously? Babies need report cards in order to finish off graduate from their swim class? On the surface, I'm not as bothered by this as I may sound, but down in my core, I'm deeply disturbed.

Why does our society find it necessary to "grade" the level of all our achievements?  Why can't shrimp swim class just be a fun little swim class, where mom and baby can both gain confidence in the water?

Why isn't Kindergarten just a safe environment where children can learn to follow the rules, be an active part of a community, and maybe master their colors and shoe laces?  Why do we insist they begin to read and add and sit still for minutes on end?

The teacher in me is bursting to come out; I could go on and on about how horrible report cards are, how grades tell parents little about their child's ability or intellect. But I'll spare you the dramatics, let's just focus on the fact that my infant will be evaluated for a skill some adults lack.

I'm sure the report card will be all cute and "feel good," but that doesn't stop it from bothering me.  Where are all these over achievers who demanded their baby be assessed for their agility in the water? The whole concept of giving report cards to infant swimmers had to start with someone. I wonder if they wanted class rank included as well.  Probably.

I want to take all these up tight parents snipe hunting. They'll only pass my class if they cook me a snipe for dinner.  That ought to teach em!


Jodi said...

Having a kindergartner, especially in Texas, I could not agree with you more!!!!!!!!!! The best way to rate ourselves is by doing our very best. If we gave it all we had, then that was enough. And we have to remember to enjoy ourselves, and to let our children enjoy themselves!!! They need to be able to explore their minds, strengths, abilities, interests, etc without feeling like they don't measure up!! I believe that is how they will truly become successful. Anyway.......that topic really strikes my nerves as well. Swim little shrimps! You are all wonderful :)!!!

Polly Blevins said...

Amen to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Now, haven't you ever been to a tee-ball game where there were parents keeping score? Those types have always been among us and always will be. They are the ones demanding the report card. They are the Utah legislators who required that we affix a "seal" on the high school diploma indicating whether or not the student passed the state test.
You see I can trace all bad things right back to the GOP. I can figure a way to blame everything in my life that goes amuck on the Republicans! Interestingly enough, more often than not there's substantial proof to back my claim!
I love my little shrimp, whether he's an A+ swimmer or an F- swimmer. He's Awesome or Fabulous either way.
Love, Grandpa

Scott and Claudia said...

Chill out! The little report card is just for scrapbooking! I remember when my boys got them, not a report card just a promotion card. Would you like one of my little pink pills? Mom

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