Thursday, May 23, 2013

Honors Day Is Not a Good Day At Our House....

We hate Honors Day at our house!

There I said it!  I hate having to look at the eyes of my child when something is said about Honors Day at school.  I melt...  I cry... I stay away from Facebook...

This year my son FINALLY gets something and I don't know about it.  His school gives T-shirts to all the students who receive awards.  When he showed me his award (which was for nothing academic, but not being RAC'd all year--this is a type of disciple system at his school), I asked where his T-shirt was and his words were, "They were all bragging with them."  This meant that he didn't get one and he was upset.

As a teacher I have always had mixed emotions about Honors Days.  Its great to recognize our students but we seem to recognize the same ones over and over.  Yes, they are the ones excelling in the classroom but for them, school is easy.  What about the kids that struggle with everything and still are able to pass and even exceed the state tests!  What about the kids that work harder than those being recognize and get no Honors Day T-shirt?  What about those who have learning disabilities and are still able to not only pass but excess on state tests?  What about those who worked, struggled, cried and worked some more only to be given a pat on the back...  It's not fair.  Only those in the gifted classes seem to be getting the least in my child's eyes!

We struggle with school every year.  I have a son that struggles with the riggers of school.  The way public school is structured is not the structure that allows my son to excel academically.  Every year we have cried over not being able to understand concepts as quickly as his classmates.  Every year I tell him he has to work twice as hard as his classmates but that he can do it!  Every year we cry together and yell at each other.  Every year his surprises me with how well he pulls off passing his CRCTs!

But no one from his schools have ever recognized him for academic achievements   He's been recognized by his SPED teachers in his IEP meetings but never has he been recognized in front of his classmates.  We have only been to one Honors Day in the eight years he has been in school and he didn't get anything for academic achievement. For his learning disabilities, he is achieving more than we ever thought he would be able to do.

He will never be able to be in the Top 5% of his class...we have come to terms with that.  But can't we recognize him for SOMETHING academic!  Every year when he has to watch his friends get their T-shirts and walk across the stage, I watch him get frustrated.  Every year it gets harder and harder to get him to work to accomplish what his school calls "basic" achievement.  I see him struggling to try to keep a B average.  I watch him every year sink to "why should I work so hard when no one recognizes me" mode.  I work hard every year to pull him up and he does.  But how long can I keep it up?  It saddens me that he kept an 87 average all year and was never recognized for it.

I'm speaking of my child.  There are others in the same boat.  They work hard.  They keep their grades up.  They pass and exceed state tests.  They help their school to get high scores on state school wide grades.  Why aren't they recognized?

I know it seems like I am saying that every student deserves an award.  That's not it.  We seem to have forgotten that every student is special.  Every student has something that is valuable.  It takes every student for a school to get that "A" grade from the state.  Every student is able to make some type of contribution to academic excellence of their school.  For some students you just have to look harder for it.  We put so much on those exceeding we seem to brush aside those that are the "average" student.

Honors Day is not a good day in our house!  We are proud of those who got their Honors Day T-shirts and awards.  You deserved it!  

We just wish you knew how much we deserved it too!


  1. That is one reason we're now home schooling and I taught for 14 years! We fought hard to get RID of honors day for our K & 1st graders (they kept the one for 1st) because I just couldn't explain to a 5 year old why so and so's mom came and yours didn't; why they got to walk across stage and you didn't. So sorry you're awesome guy is having to go through that!
    Katie Gonzalez

  2. He gets a good neighbor award from me! He has such good manners and is so knowageable on so many subjects! I have watched him grown into a very handsome young man. He works very hard helping his family on the farm and does so willingly> Knox, you are #1 in my book!! Hoo rah!

  3. Well written! Definitely pushes me to the homeschool side for my little man. Thanks for the insight.


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