I follow Life of an Educator by Justin Tarte and I found this amazing entry. It really supports what I believe about education. I try to follow these beliefs in my classroom and it isn't always easy to do when you have to deal with other staff members. You can read the entire article on his blog, just click on the title above and it will take you to his blog.
"6 myths in education that need a debunking!
Myth 1 - Students will abuse and take advantage of a situation if we treat another student 'differently.' We all believe in differentiating, personalizing, and customizing the educational experience for our students as much as possible. Having said that, many believe that if you do something perceived to be 'easier' for one student or you 'cut them slack,' then other students will exploit and use this situation to their advantage. Here's the deal, what's fair isn't always equal, and what's equal isn't always fair, and a majority of students aren't going to take advantage of a situation just because you treated another student 'differently.'
Myth 2 - Students learn from 'zeros.' When a student receives a zero for not completing an assignment (this could be for numerous different reasons), the student deserves a zero because in turn they will learn from this zero and learn not to repeat this behavior. For the record, I'm still waiting to find the kid who gets a zero and says 'I have now seen the light and I will no longer commit myself to such atrocities and hence forth all of my future assignments will be turned in completed and on time with a little pretty bow on top...'"
I also read this article about averaging grades by the Association for Middle Level Education that I think everyone should read. I refuse to ever average another grade as long as I teach. I truly believe that averaging has no place in education. I want to let the student and parent know what the child knows, not what a bunch of numbers average out to be. Personally, I think letter grades are stupid. Give me standards based grading any day. Let the parent and the student know what they need to work on and what they have mastered. What do grades really tell the parent anyway? Especially when Susie teacher down the hall gives all A's and B's because she just doesn't want to deal with the parents. Read the article if any of this has made you curious!