Being average is okay. It almost seems like we need to apologize these days for being average. If you look at a bell curve guess what? Most of us ARE average. Despite what we tell ourselves, our children, and their teachers, most children are average.
As my daughter is starting to look at applying to colleges the schools she plans on applying to no longer look at essays, body of work portfolios (except in fine arts capacities), volunteer positions or even interview students. They are telling students here is the grade point average usually 3.3 to 3.5 minimum out of 4.0 and a minimum SAT or ACT score and that is all. My daughter doesn’t make these cuts.
She is one of the hardest working students I know. She is kind, compassionate and ethical. She tries to do her best and present herself well when working on a project. But, these are skills that can not be graded and quantified by the schools. Her brother is gifted. He is in 8th grade and just scored a 700 on the English portion of the SATs and a 590 in math. He doesn’t have to try too hard in school but still gets mostly 100s. But, he doesn’t have the same skill set as his sister. He has to be watched and carefully guided when working. He is argumentative when others don’t agree with him and not intrinsically motivated to try harder. If I were a school or employer I would want my daughter over my son but if you put them both up blind with test scores only, you would want my son.
Not every child is an A student nor should they be. If every student is on honor roll or high honor roll start looking at your school curriculum. There is something wrong. Every student should be able to succeed but there should be far more B, C, and D students than there are. When I saw that over 50% of a class was on honor roll or high honor roll I began to question things. Think about average – in the middle. So more than 50% of the students are A/B+ students? No. Your scoring is too easy or your curriculum is too easy. Not everyone gets the trophy, medal or award.
My daughter will never be a world-class Irish dancer but, she loves to dance. Everyone asks if she is going to be a dance teacher or something. No, she does it because she loves it. She is a good dancer, again average, but has been stuck in one dance at a certain level for five years now. Most dancers would have given up competing by now and let it go but not her. She is determined to go as far as she can. She amazes me each time she picks herself up after another disappointing day of competing and goes right back into it again the next day. Often she doesn’t get a medal or a trophy and that’s okay. She is learning to keep trying and be resilient despite set backs. That is more than she ever would have learned had she succeeded at everything. She knows it is not the medal, trophy, or award that mean something to her but the sense of accomplishment she feels when she meets her goal.
There will be no awards for her at graduation for highest GPA or award-winning essays. But, she has skills that will take her far. I think she will be just fine.