Dear student who wrote in an email Sunday, "I was just wondering if there was anything I could do to raise my grade as the semester starts to come to a close,"
Thank you for checking in. I have fielded countless requests like yours over the years, online and in person, from students as well as their families. Few, though, have come from a learner who's earning an A as you are.
Part of me wants to pat you on the back while I marvel at your ceaseless drive to improve. Another part of me seeks a more consoling gesture as I fret whether your fragile learning motor might wear under apparent strain. (Time for my own wondering: How accurate is your perception of how you're doing in our class, anyway?)
Let's celebrate the forest you've cultivated before we get lost in the trees that debatably delineate, say, 92 from 94 percent. While I am confident more remains for you to learn, I am less sure these steps will elevate your grade in noticeable, calculable ways. For instance, you tend towards the taciturn, so what if you took a more active role contributing in class? Or, since you embrace your comfort zone by usually working with the same partners or reading similar genres of books, what if you took controlled risks to try new things? Would stretches like those lead to new experiences and capacities? I believe so. Would they boost your grade? No guarantee there. Then again, imperfect grades have never been able to circumscribe all the learning that we do.
So, stay motivated and curious. Even as you aim your critical eye at how to improve your game more than your grade, make sure those eyes recognize successes and growth, too, which merit celebrating.