Monday, October 06, 2008

A for Average

Have you ever noticed that the people who receive recognition in our society are A. those who totally mess up and then turn themselves around or B. those who are ranked in the top 1% of whatever it is they excel.

I would like to say (for the record) that our society needs to start recognizing the Average Joe's and Jane's.

Let me give you a scenario. The names have been changed. Jack and Jill are brother and sister. Jack makes good grades, stays away from drugs, pays his own way through college and lives his life according to society's rules.

Jill drops out of high school, gets pregnant, gets involved with drugs, decides to be a lesbian for a while, gives up the rights to her two children, then finally pulls herself together.

The mother of these two would go on and on about how hard Jill had worked. She'd had a tough life and now had pulled it together. Jack is just expected to do the right thing without any recognition. Because he always has.

I see this a lot in schools too. Attention is showered upon the Gifted and Talented. Prizes are given out for perfect report cards. Awards are bestowed upon the best in Science or Math. Even the slackers or the kids with real learning disabilities have special classes to in order to make sure they keep up and graduate. In one of our schools if these kids raised their grade one level they received a prize.

But, what about the Average Student? The one who studies and works hard to get A's and B's? The kid who never raises his grade a level because he never lets it fall in the first place. The kids who don't demand lots of attention but come to class and behave themselves? Why don't schools make a little more effort to recognize the bulk of their student body?

Well, here's to you, Average American, Joe Sixpack (Winking!! Gads, that was irritating just typing it!!) I raise my average coffee/beer to you (think store brand, Miller Lite) and I salute you. Keep doing the right thing. Our society couldn't function without you.


  • Preach it, sister!

    By Anonymous apathy lounge, at 10/06/2008 12:02 PM  

  • Yay! I'm Jack and my sister was Jill (well, not that bad, but almost!) Thanks for noticing!

    ; )

    By Blogger Crazy MomCat, at 10/06/2008 8:50 PM  

  • You've found my soapbox. I am the mother of 3 "honors" students and one "regular" student. My older three were showered with certificates and awards, especially when they were younger. My youngest, who is quite intelligent (in ways not measured on standardized tests), followed along longing to get the recognition of her older siblings. As it turned out, the one award she could win was "Perfect Attendance". I would sit at the award ceremonies as she got her certificate knowing that she would never get the recognition her siblings received. She shows up, does her work and doesn't get in trouble and no one notices. She is almost 16 now and finally beginning to come into her own. This summer she decided she wanted a job and went out and got herself one. And she stepped up to the plate taking a pre-AP class at school. But it's been a painful journey...

    By Anonymous tlc, at 10/07/2008 8:02 AM  

  • Hmmm I'm a little confused. Do you mean you want to reward mediocrity or you want to reward longevity? It sounds like longevity and consistency is what you want rewarded.

    I have a kid in AP classes. Very hard worker. Makes good grades.

    I wonder though if mediocrity is really something we need to embrace? Or is it something that we need to say is just mediocre.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/07/2008 4:31 PM  

  • No Knot, you are not hearing me....I have an AP student who does NOT work hard. I have the other student who does work hard to make very good grades but they aren't stellar. I just think we need to recognize the above average people sometimes - the ones doing it right all the time, not just now and then.

    By Blogger DebbieDoesLife, at 10/07/2008 4:42 PM  

  • Knot- My youngest child is not mediocre; she is average - huge difference.

    By Anonymous tlc, at 10/08/2008 6:36 AM  

  • I totally hear you. I was the average Jack and I feel your pain.

    By Blogger Renee, at 10/08/2008 3:15 PM  

  • To tweak the words of Forrest Gump......."Average is what Average does." It's all depends on how you define average and how hard you are willing to work to be the best 'you' you can be. Gifted, Average, Special Needs...dosn't matter...there are winners and losers in every catagory. Success is up the individual and it's up to us to acknowlage those successes regardless of the 'catagory' it was achieved in. Really, what is average?? Average is an opinion.

    By Anonymous Carol, at 10/08/2008 8:48 PM  

  • As a mom it always irritated me that there were programs for those at the highest level and those at the lowest. But the average kids were always just passed on and on, never any recognition. They would benefit just as much as anyone would by the gifted and talented curriculum. I always thought instead of kids going to GATE, the GATE teacher should go into every classroom and let all kids benefit.

    When I taught I used that philosophy in my classroom, the results were amazing.

    By Blogger PEACE, at 10/08/2008 9:47 PM  

  • Peace - I totally agree with you. There are no programs for the "regular" kids. The schools have got to find a way to acknowledge the vast majority of their population. There is a lot of spark and creativity to these kids that goes overlooked because they don't get the right scores on tests. For example, don't take on my youngest daughter in word games - she'll give you a run for your money every time. But show me where it measures that on the TAKS.

    By Anonymous tlc, at 10/09/2008 7:44 AM  

  • My parents always rewarded us for hard work. My sister and I had mediocre natural talent, but we stuck with it and were always made to feel that our parents were proud of us.

    In fact, I remember how proud they were that we both got Perfect Attendance certificates in elementary school!

    They said that things might come easier to other kids than they did to us, but if we stuck to it we would be just fine.

    It's kind of like the prodigal son. The father's love and forgiveness for the younger son didn't take anything away for his love of the older son.

    By Blogger teahouse, at 10/15/2008 8:36 PM  

  • Holy Cow... I'm the kid that has always done everything right (and now I'm 48!!)...

    For mom is going to make 'it all about' my sister who hasn't seen her in over a year....

    I feel your pain...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/18/2008 7:46 PM  

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