I saw this earlier and thought to myself “At what age is this okay?” because *maybe unpopular opinion* high school students would probably respond well to this. But what about middle schoolers? Freshman?
Clearly it’s not appropriate for an 8 year old either way.
I would NEVER give such an award to any student (that’s not my personality — I focus on the kids’ growth), but definitely not to one so young.
The article mentions studies about homework and standardized tests, and I’m not sure I agree with that. There are just too many variables, none of which is mentioned, for that to hold up for me. (For example, how much homework, was it worksheets or hands on projects, group work, independent, etc.)
Even in older grades, it depends on how well you know your students. Their sense of humors, their backgrounds…a joke should always be made that a student can also laugh at, not at their expense.
For example, embarrassing story time.
Through most of high school I got bronchitis so bad each year that I required codeine syrup just so I could breath; the only time I wasn’t coughing was when I was unconscious. This wracked up absences at a week at a time, one year for two and a half weeks straight. I was also ruthlessly bullied by my then-girlfriend and a chunk of the general student body, to the point that I sometimes made myself sick just thinking about trying to face the day.
So I missed school. A lot. I never fell outside of the maximum days allowed, I had doctors’ notes for many if not most of them, and I still made sure that I knew what was going on enough that I kept up As.
When my social studies teacher gave out awards in tenth grade, I got the “ghost” award. For so frequently being missing from class. And as ridiculous as it is, it still sticks with me. It felt like the teacher was having a joke with everyone else at my expense, condoning their laughter.
So for awards like this, it’s important to know where the line is — when something is a private joke or something that can be a public one. Sometimes a student may laugh at something because they don’t know how to tell a teacher that they’re being a bully or making them uncomfortable, or because they don’t feel like they can talk about the root of a problem when it’s being looked at as jest, etc. If you really know your students well enough, at the older level, to feel confident making a joke like this in front of the class on a piece of paper that could theoretically last a long time, I think that’s awesome — but if you don’t, I would think it’s better to be positive than sorry.
And they’re definitely, in my opinion, not appropriate for students at such a young age if they’re appropriate at all.