Two Sure-fire Ways to Improve Your Grades


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By Don Swinney | September 1, 2013

I was called to be a teacher, I had been a teacher for several years before I came to this conclusion, but I truly was. I could written volumes on various aspects of teachers, but I’m confining myself to this one this time. So much is said about grades in schooling. Now, I know that what I’m writing is very much the exception instead of the rule but I’ve seen them work.I taught for eight years for the America Dependent schools in Germany. It was there the following incident happened. One year I had a female student who was making a good solid C. {{more}}One day I was reviewing the grade book when I noticed her grades had suddenly jumped to A’s. I asked her to come to my desk where I asked her what happened. Her response shocked me. She said, “I started reading the lesson a day ahead of time.”My first mental response was, “What? You can’t do that! You must have me to explain it to you!” But my real response was, “Way to go girl! No other student has ever done that!” A little while later I told all my students about her efforts and suggested they do the same. I can’t remember any one accepting the challenge. The other example is on the opposite end of the extreme. I don’t recommend it, but it worked.This one also involved a female student. She was making straight F’s. One day I was sitting out among them as they were working on their assignments. I said something, I don’t know what, that she took offense to. She said, “Don’t you think I can do this?” Although she didn’t say it, there was an implied, “I’ll show you” in her tone.For about two weeks she did show me. She made nothing but A’s. When she thought she had sufficiently shown me, she went back to her old ways. How sad! If I could remember what I said to insult her into action, I’d say it again. As crude as it was, I used this method myself a few years later.Being as I’ve always been an entrepreneur, and being as the tap water in our area was hard to swallow, I went into the water purification business. A few years later we expanded into a store, selling water by the gallon. When you sell something that goes inside your body, there must be some governmental agency watching over you. Because we were different than the existing agency, they threw us in with the waste water folks. We had to go to a waste water school and take their tests.I thoroughly resented all this, as it had nothing to do with our business. Finally, I decided, “Ok. If this is the way it is to be, I’ll take your school, I’ll take your old tests. I’ll show you.” I did, and got my certification.