The letter grade does not always tell the full story. At times, academia presents a false illusion of who will become successful. The focus tends to be on the letter grade. There is nothing wrong with that. That is just one way to determine how a person was able to retain and/or apply the information they learned. You take a test in a classroom with your peers and are then graded on it. For some educators and parents, that letter grade is the end all be all. Anything less than an A or B is just completely unacceptable. Some subjects came easy to me. I could study for a very minimal amount and easily get an A on the test. For other subjects, I had to study every single night hoping just to get a high B. The thing that’s crazy to me looking back on it is that I was proud of that B that I had to work extremely hard for over the A that came easy. The A did receive more praise. That may not have been the best thing. I say that because some students will go above and beyond to put in the hard work. They will go to study groups, go to tutoring, and study every night only to make a C in that particular class. If you are just paying attention to that letter grade, you may think that student is just average or is not putting in the effort. You may automatically assume that the student who made an A is the one who does a lot of studying and that is why they made that grade. Sometimes, this is not always the case.
The classroom is just one environment. Some people do very well in it. They go to college to get their degree, and are able to get a career and do very well in it. There are others who do very well in the classroom and go to college to get their degree as well. Unfortunately, they do not experience the same level of success. They have degrees that are just expensive pieces of paper hanging on the wall. The things they learned in the classroom did not work outside of it. But one thing that I’ve noticed is that some of the students who were considered average and did not have the academic accolades ended up becoming very successful. They started their own business and are now running multiple successful businesses. I’ve read stories of a lot of millionaires who did horrible in school. It made no sense to me because going through school, I was taught that there is only one way to do it. Those C students learned early in life that they had to put in a lot of hard work to pass the class. Now they are applying that same work ethic to what they really want to do in life and are thriving. Some people are just book smart and never had to develop strong study or work habits while in school and it shows. They have not developed the skillset to reach a high level of success in the real world.
Sometimes the effort is more important than the grade. Putting in the effort could be their way of learning how to grind. Developing a grind will be something that will help you get to new levels in the real world. We shouldn’t discourage any child who is putting in hard work and may not be doing as well in a particular subject. That struggle can become a teachable moment, something that will stick with them the rest of their lives. The grade doesn’t always tell the story and we must be willing to look deeper. I know that this does not apply in every situation. When you see that student struggling or if you have a child who is putting in maximum effort and is only able to get a certain result, do not be so quick to write them off. The words you say to them in that moment could possibly affect them for the rest of their lives.