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Jan 03

I’ve become “that mom”

I literally just wrote an email, explaining that Sam would need to do test corrections or have the test dropped altogether, because WE ARE NOT going to let that 65% stand as his final test grade.

I used to be the mom who was devil may care about grades. Jessie stressed so much about her grades, I was momumentally laissez faire about it. I made a point of assuring her that her grades were fine, no matter what. I didn’t pay attention to them at all – in fact, I actively encouraged her to care less. And with Julie, I’m walking a fine line between paying attention and caring, but assuring her that doing her best is what matters. I don’t care about the final grade, I care that she did her best. Which, of course, I do. I truly don’t care about the grade. I mean, I know I’m coming at that from a point of priviledge with the girls. They are intellectually bright, diligent and conscientious. They get good grades.

The problem is that Sam’s grades aren’t actually about what he did. It’s not. It doesn’t particularly matter how hard he tries, he’s still blind. And that 65% isn’t a measure of what he knows, it’s a measure of what he understands because they have failed to make it accessible for him. He is a solid A/B honors level student, but math is a battle. Because when you can’t see a graph, or a lengthy equation, it’s really hard to be able to do it. Not that he doesn’t know how, it’s just a hell of a lot harder to get it done when you can’t see it.

And so I micromanage his grades. I’ve become every teacher’s worst nightmare, I know it, and I’m even sorry about it. This isn’t where I want to be. This isn’t where I think I should be – at 15, he should be in charge of his own grades. At 11, I don’t micromanage Julie’s grades. The difference is that every lesson is designed for sighted students, so if Julie is getting a C in science, it’s because she’s earned a C. Sam deserves that same level of access.

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