Always Do Your Work. Always Do Your Best.


Every school has different rules and policies when it comes to grading. At college preparatory schools like Benjamin, students are held to higher standards compared to other schools. This is to help challenge and “prepare” students for what is to come after their high school years. But how challenging is too challenging?

One of the top priorities of students in high school is to get good grades, especially when working really hard at whatever they are working on. There are times where students aren’t rewarded for the amount of effort they put into something because the teacher didn’t share the same perspective as the student. This comes down to a consistent grading system, and teachers being able to walk the fine line between challenging the student to be better and to reward the student for the great work that they have completed. 

Starting the year off strong is very crucial to the level of success you will have for the year. If you begin the year lazy and let everyone else pass you, then how are you getting better? That should be the goal of every student throughout each of their high school years. How can I become a better writer than I was yesterday? How can I improve my math grade by the end of the semester? Setting those goals for yourself early in the year can make or break your level of success for the year. Then, there’s also the importance of getting ahead of your work. 

For example, when given an assignment that isn’t due for another three weeks, some students will wait until close to the due date to start the assignment. The same thing happens with tests or quizzes. Why should you have to cram the night before in order to feel semi-prepared for an assessment? The more you procrastinate and push off an assignment or assessment, the harder it becomes to get a passing grade.

Maybe it doesn’t come down to how hard the teacher grades, but rather how well the student prepares or works for what’s to come. But let’s say the students do prepare really well for an assessment and get nervous, resulting in a flunked grade. Most students don’t have to worry, as most classes offer a retest or corrections to improve the original grade. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. 

Some students are stuck with the grade that they get, no ifs, ands, or buts. It’s understandable to not offer any way to improve a grade, maybe to help the student learn from their mistakes so that they don’t happen again. But is it really fair? Especially for the students that studied really hard and will do anything to improve their grade. Having that option to be better than you were before is super important to students.

Taking a look at the other end of the spectrum, some students end up never completing their work. After having an assignment for three weeks and finally deciding to work on it the night before its due, some students just give up and move onto the next assignment. They try to forget the zero that is blatantly sitting in the grade book, but it’s not going anywhere. That zero will forever be on the permanent record. Admitting that you should have started the assignment way before the night before its due doesn’t change anything, but at least it teaches a lesson. 

But why give up? Almost every teacher offers partial credit. While that might not be enough to significantly improve your grade, it gets rid of the zero which is a win in its own right. That zero makes you look lazy and like you don’t care, which might not necessarily be true. Nonetheless, having a zero means you didn’t try, which is a really bad feeling to have.

After receiving a poor grade, don’t get frustrated at your teacher and their “unfair” grading system. Think about how you could have prevented the poor grade in the first place. As the school year begins, remember to start off strong, and to finish stronger.