4/21/12

Agony of Awards

New Blogger?  Hmmmm.  I don't know about this . . . 


I have a wedding shower that I'm off to.  Or a bridal shower.  Or whatever you want to call it.  I'm super stressed about the wrapping of my gift because the bride is the end-all, be-all of creativity and DIY.  And fashion.  And hair.  And makeup.  It's a wonder I'm invited to this thing.  Then we are going to church and out to dinner which basically means today is a day for fun and socializing and worship and food.  Tomorrow will be work.


WORK.


Lots of it.


I thought I could get started last night.  Ha.


I fell asleep on the couch.  Amid pizza crusts, ceasar salad, and wine.  The only thing I completely finished before falling asleep was the wine.


People, I don't know about you, but things are piling up as the end of the year approaches.  And changing our Open House theme is extremely time consuming.  It's also fun - you should hear my teammates and I screeching and squealing over a new idea that one of us thought of.


But the worst thing I have to do tomorrow is select six kids to give third trimester awards to.


Do you have AWARDS?


Awards are HUGE at my school.  It's always a topic of discussion.  We actually have a COMMITTEE for it.  I'm on the committee.  Which I don't remember signing up for . . . and I believe I got roped into it, much like the duty schedule committee, leadership team committee, SST committee, knocking committee, smiling committee, hosting gossip in my room committee, etc.


We have three Awards Assemblies (one each trimester) and then a gigantic end of the year Awards Assembly.  Some of the awards that we give include Principal's Award (academic), Citizenship, Character, and Teacher's Choice.  The majority of the parents want their child to receive the Principal's Award.  Which is kind of funny because our principal just signs it . . . I am the one who decides who should receive it.  But whatever.


We have fun music playing during the assembly, a "red carpet" (butcher paper), a picture taking place, etc.  We have to send out invitations to the parents way ahead of time.  It's big, I tell ya.


It used to be a lot easier when I only had 20 kids.  Everyone got an award at least once.  No hard feelings.  No drama, usually.  (I have had parents students crying on the benches because their name wasn't called. I told them to knock it off and buck up and be happy for their friends  smile and clap for their friends in support, and to remember that they already received an award).


One year, I had a parent scream at the principal because I gave her daughter a Principal's Award for Writing.  She thought it should have also included Reading and Math and Social Studies and Science and Art and Computers and Talking and Sitting and Smiling and Standing and Sleeping.  True story.  She was DEVASTATED and wanted to see my gradebook so she could compare her daughter's scores with the other students in my class who received awards in those areas.  My principal said are you crazy, you crazy lunatic?  that, unfortunately, that was not allowed and broke privacy laws.  I use this example as an illustration of what awards mean at my school.  


Now . . . I have way too many kids and not enough awards.  


THE HORROR.


Let's be real - the part of me that wears a crooked halo (sometimes) thinks this is great because every year I have one or two kiddos that simply do not deserve an award.  (Yikes.  I typed it!  Then I debated erasing it.  Erased it.  Typed it again.  My head hurts from this heavy halo.)


But the other part of me (right as rain and straight arrow and all of that - you believe me, right?) feels terrible that I can't give every kid an award.


So tomorrow, I am going to be struggling with my class list as I try to figure out third trimester awards and the end of the year awards. Who will get one?  Who won't?  Who will cry?  Who won't?  Will a parent go to my principal because I failed their child????  THE AGONY.


I give my own awards (in the classroom - no parents) near the last day of school so that every kid DOES get an award from me.  But the parents could care less.  They don't think it's as important as the School Awards.  Ho hum.

Awards


How do awards at your school work?  My twin's school doesn't even notify her if her kids are receiving awards.  They have a Celebration of Learning four times a year and if she doesn't stay for it, there's a chance she'll miss her kid getting an award.  But no one ever tells her!!  If that happened at my school, I think riots would break out.  Seriously.


Am I alone in the Agony of Awards?????

40 comments:

  1. Sometimes I wish we would make more of a stink about recognition at our school, but your post has me thinking otherwise!!

    The kids in your room probably love your awards a million times more anyways!

    Have fun at the shower :)

    Halle
    Across the Hall

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  2. ha! Why not award them for being a kid, or showing up to school 100 of 180 days of the year, or some other EXPECTATION! We have students of the month, but it's practically bologna. I only pick one kid so they don't all get it. You are not alone. I just don't like giving someone an award just because they may feel bad.
    We also do end of the year awards. I do give everyone an award here. Heck, it may be Most Interesting Kid, Best Dimples, etc. but they get one!

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  3. At my old school, only fourth grade did a big award ceremony and I didn't teach fourth grade, so I didn't worry about it. I gave out classroom awards and all was well. I haven't a clue about my current school.
    May the force be with you while selecting your students, we do pick students of the month each month, but since there isn't a big hoopla made at the school about it, nobody's feelings really get hurt.
    Lisa
    Stories From Second

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  4. On a side note, I do student council at my school and the classroom's elect their reps. I can't tell you how many parents stopped by my room to let me know that "my child has been a student council rep for ___ years." Okay, great...but their classmates still vote for who is their classroom's rep, not me.
    Lisa
    Stories From Second

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  5. We do a "Caught Being Good" thing. Except no one is actually "caught." We each have to pick one a week to get the recognition. They get a little rubber bracelet and no one cares.

    During Catholic Schools week, we had parents come for an awards ceremony. The kids in 3rd-8th grade got an award if they were on the honor roll, so, easy enough. My kids got awards if they received a star on the conduct and effort part of their report card any time in the first three quarters of the year. That just means they went out of their way to be good or to try.

    It ended up that I had given a star to all of my kids at some point during the year.... except for one. Oops! Shockingly I never heard anything about it.

    I wish our awards were meaningful but I don't want to deal with what you do!!! Go you!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

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  6. At my school, we have an awards assembly at the end of each quarter. The 1st, 2nd, & 3rd qtr awards are usually just Principals Honor Roll, Teachers Honor Roll and Perfect Attendence. The last awards program every student is supposed to get at least one award. My kids usually get 3 or 4 each (I guess that is the former kdg teacher in me. LOL) I always make my own for the year end awards, they are so much cuter plus I print them with my name on it to same me time (is that terrible?). The year end awards are a BIG Deal at my school too.

    Kelly @ I'm Not Your Teacher, I'm Your Grandpa.

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  7. Ugggggg I hear ya friend! What happened to the time when things were special and surprising? Now everything is expected and demanded. Booooooooooooooo! The awards you give your students are precious. The parents may not care but the students adore you and receiving your award means the world to them!

    Sheila

    Sprinkle Teaching Magic

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  8. Our school used to do the same thing, big assembly, crazy parents, crying kids, it was awful. We even had class performances...it was over the top. All the teachers rallied together and decided to stop and just do awards in our class. Parents retaliated, but our principal backed us up and it has been so wonderful. I love your cute awards designs, I will have to use some of these:)

    Aloha,
    Corinna
    Surfin' Through Second

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  9. AAHHH Awards! We do a awards every six weeks! A shiny glittery pencil is given to each student who has had perfect attendance, Excellent Conduct, A honor roll, and AB honor roll!! So, if you can imagine, it takes a while.

    Then, after the first couple rounds, many of the kids have pencils and begin banging them together, drumming on the tile floor, poking their friends, etc. So the assembly usually turns into me snapping my fingers or taking up pencils the whole time. It's delightful. I will say, the kids LOVE the pencils. :)

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  10. This is my first year at this school and they do awards all of the time. Every Monday I have to turn in a name for the Principal's Award. Those names are read over the intercom, the student goes to the office to get a pencil, and the award is posted in the hall. Because of my large class, I'm not sure if everyone will get one or not.

    Then every other month we have an awards assembly. I have to pick 2 students to receive a citizenship award and 2 to receive an award for academics. There are a few extra awards like from PE and Music. We pick 2 - one for each month. We really don't let the parents know since we often are selecting the students at the last minute. It is a big deal to the kids. One month a girl told me that she dressed up in case she received the award.

    We also have Pod Awards. Our school is arranged with 3 pods. We meet in the pod every 2 months for awards such as Golden Broom (cleanest classroom), Golden Slipper (quietest in the hall), Golden Tray (leave their lunch room table the cleanest), Golden Whistle (cooperating in PE and following directions), etc. These awards are coveted by the classrooms. The classroom that earns 3 awards in one assembly gets an ice cream party. If a class earns 5 awards, they get a pizza party. My class has yet to receive an award. They are a noisy group of 31 students. I work on them all of the time. I have had one student who comes back in tears. I always remind them what they have to do. I feel there is a lot of pressure on these awards. A noisy, large class receives nothing and yet another class in our pod has only 22 students and receives lots of these awards. I've been out sick and missed the last awards assemblies, so maybe my class did get at least one. I sure hope so!

    My previous school didn't do awards and I prefer that. We did give little awards where the student went to the office to get a pencil and a spaceship went in the hall with their name on it. I prefer this style. It was important to the student, but not a super big deal.

    I think I'll do awards in the classroom at the end of the year. That way the students who never earn one of these awards will get one.

    Diane
    The Teacher's Jungle

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  11. I've been at schools that go crazy and I've been at schools that do nothing...right now my school is a happy medium. They get an award if they EARN Honor Roll, Perfect Atten. ect. But we also give out tickets all nine weeks, blue and red, for behavior and academics. Then we have a big "pulling of the tickets" one red and one blue from each class for a school shirt...it is the best part of the awards and USUALLY everyone's name is in there once.
    I loved your story part about the Mom who thought it should have also included Reading and Math and Social Studies and Science and Art and Computers and Talking and Sitting and Smiling and Standing and Sleeping.
    IT IS CALL HOMESCHOOLING! ;)
    ~Fern

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  12. Oh my dear blogging friend, you are not alone! I actually am planning a post on this and would love to link to yours so everyone that feels the sting can relish in the sting together! Those of us on the leadership committee are trying, no outright begging, to not have an awards assembly this year. Our school went from 400 to 1600 since it opened 3 years ago... Not only do we have to give awards, we have to PERFORM!!!!!! So parents are hooked in to coming to see their darlings sing or whatever, but then realize only a handful of our 262 first graders get to walk off with an award. My heart pounds as I write, so you are not alone. I hear and feel for you and all of those who have to deal with parents who just don't get it.

    Faithful in First

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  13. Officially became your latest follower using Google friend (even though I have been following you using Reader).
    Come and check out my Dr. Jean giveaway!
    My Second Sense

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  14. We do awards each and every month - four awards per month.

    Parents are notified, invited, and attend. They are told it is a simple monthly award assembly so no gifts, balloons, etc., but they can take pictures. Boy you should see how excited the parents get. Each month we have two academic achievement awards, a citizenship and an improvement award. The only ones that seem to get the improvement award are the struggling kiddos that have done some small thing that we can claim to give them an award for doing. It's all just made up stuff, knowing all sight words, adding numbers,...

    Of course we have never figured out why the parents of the "improvement" awards seem to be the most excited, maybe they don't know that is really teacher code for "your child still has not figured it out, but is doing a little better OR should just get an award cause it's time"

    Then comes the end of the year. There are enough awards each month that each child should get two, but then comes the end of the year with a girl citizenship, a boy citizenship, an ELA achievement, Math achievement, Science achievement, social studies achievement, ELA improvement, and Math improvement. Oh and don't forget the ones with perfect attendance. We still remind them it's a simple assembly, but...sometimes they forget and bring lots of stuff with them. It's only kindergarten people :) You really should wait until they really do something amazing like graduate from high school, or college or better yet grad school because we all must do grad school now to get a job of any kind.

    So some of them will get three awards, those chosen carefully because they have been the shining stars of the class. The "improvement" award usually goes to a child that has made HUGE progress because of language, but is basically very smart already.

    Most times to save myself the anxiety of it all I decide who will get the end of year awards as soon as everyone has received one award for the year and then just plug everyone in again sometime in between and make up something for the appropriate month. I guess maybe they know their precious little one might not make the grad school thing so they celebrate kindergarten.

    I wish that the awards were tied to something tangible or were only for those that showed mastery in each quarter or something... but for now we happily make up stuff to give them awards.

    Happy award giving :)

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  15. It could be worse, my school doesn't do any awards...but I do at the end of the year...cute award and put it in a Dollar Store frame. Everyone gets one and their pic taken. I feel like after a year with them, I can find SOMETHING great to celebrate about each of them! =)
    Jennifer
    First Grade Blue SKies

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  16. We don't do any kind of awards assembly...which I am beginning to think is kind-of sad. Awards are given in the classroom by the teacher, but I am thinking that I might try to put together a something a little more special. It has been a hard year, we need a celebration of some kind. I would take suggestions on low stress, but fun ways to recognize my little kinders.

    Terri

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  17. We have an awards celebration each quarter. We give the following awards; citizenship, academics, character traits, most improved reading/math, and positive behavior. I try to make sure each student gets at least one award sometime during the school year. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. I had a parent this year yell at me the first time we had the celebration because her son didn't get an award. I couldn't believe it! They have to work hard for an award. We don't just give out awards just because! ;)

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  18. We don't have awards at our school except for Presidential Fitness. We do have a talent show where (the Music/P.E. teacher picks her relatives and favorites) the most talented two students from each class.

    I'm not a big fan of rewards, cause let's face it the same kids will still be getting the awards in high school that are getting them now.

    I do my own awards, but don't focus on academics. Wonderful friend award, wonderful example to the class award, they all start with wonderful instead of best and that seems to work.

    All I can say is good luck.

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  19. Oh wow! I'm just a mom, not a teacher, but I have several wonderful girlfriends who are teachers! Best of luck with your decisions! :)

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  20. At my school, we have an Awards Ceremony in third term. So basically, the awards are given out based on Semester 1 results. Every child who receives 3 or more A's on their report receive an academic report. The hard part comes when as a year level, we have to choose only 2 kids to receive an English award, a Math and a Science award. We have 6 classes in our year level, each with 25 kids. So to narrow it down to just 2 in each area is very hard! We also give 1 values award for each class that the teacher chooses. Needless to say, the parents are very focused on their little cherub getting a Reading, Math or Science award.

    Kylie
    Down Under Teacher

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  22. We do AR awards each quarter and perfect attendance. We also do a citizen of the month but not all the students even get this award!

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  23. No awards to agonize over. It's really great. The kids earn and return tickets for behavior stuff, and the principal pulls 2 tickets from each grade every Monday for a little prize from the school store.
    Then at the end of the year we have an assembly where he pulls about 50 tickets. Prizes are strewn all over the gym floor and winners come down and choose as their name is drawn. The last name drawn wins a donated bike. Also really great.

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  24. My kids school has pre-determined goals for each grading period and if the kid meets all the set goals they get the award... For example in Kindergarten on award is for knowing all the letters and their sounds, another is writing all numbers to 20 with no reversals... They are based on some of the benchmarks set by the state. Each grade level meets to determine the goals for the year. I LOVE this system! There is NO biases at all, either your kid gets it or they don't.

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  25. Previous admin said "everybody gets something".
    New admin says "everybody gets something at the first ceremony, but they only get what they have truly earned for the others". This way no parents complain and the students have gotten at least one award all year.
    I kind of like that. They know what it feels like to have one- and then have to work hard to get another.
    I agree with you though-
    and i am relating it to the merit pay that is starting- old way = everybody got something (the same thing) the new way= we get what we earn..I think it will wake up a lot of people
    (we wonder why the little ones feel so entitled) :)Staci

    Going Nutty!

    misssquirrels@yahoo.com

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  26. Ugh. I feel your pain. We only give out 3! awards total for the entire year. Proficiency (top academic achievement), Citizenship, and Most Improved. How the heck is a first grade teacher supposed to choose ONE student to be MOST improved? They have all improved. In grade one, you can physically see how much they have improved since September. Ugh. Always tears, always stress. Plus we have to stand up in front of the school and give a whole speech about why this child deserves the award! Bleh.

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  27. We have monthly Good Citizen Awards and EVERY child MUST receive this at least one time during the year. So, when I have my class list at the beginning, I just go straght down the list and put a name for each month. I don't believe in this, but I also think that giving EVERY child one takes away from those that truly earned. The parents are invited to the assembly, teachers aren't, and a certificate plus a few treats are given out. The parents are always so proud that their child got recognized for being good at a particular character trait. The funny thing is that the child usually should NOT get the one they do, but we are not told what the traits are:-)
    At the end of the year, grade 1-5 have assemblies in which ALL students must get a least one award. In kindergarten, we have gotten away from this....shhhhhh, please don't tell, nobody seems to have noticed.....and we are thrilled not to have the headaches.

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  28. We only have an end of the year assembly giving out awards for Most Improved, All A's, Boy and Girl Citizenship, P.E. Music & Art awards. There are always tears. And mine are added in because I feel so bad for those darlings who worked their little behinds off and made so much progress or "finally" got their behavior in order but aren't given an award in front of the entire grade level. I do give awards for "cutesy" stuff in my room but I don't think that makes up for the other. Not sure what the answer is...

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  29. Oh wow! I feel for you. We have a recognition assembly twice a month all year long and EVERYONE gets an award. We don't call the parents so it's just staff and kids :)

    ❀Barbara❀
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

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  30. I covet the fact that you can speak freely on your blog. I found out recently that "several" people in my district apparently read my blog, not that it's a secret or anything. But these people just stalk it and don't post or let me know they read it. Strange IMO.

    The awards make me laugh. I used to teach 6th grade and we gave everyone a fun award. One boy got "best animal impersonations" because he would moo like a cow all the time" His mom was pissed and called me about his award. I couldn't tell her that was a better award than, "strangest kid I ever taught" for instance. :)

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  31. My right eye is twitching...I think I can feel the breeze from your helicopters circling and it makes me want to find your doctor and get him to write you an excuse for this too!

    I think you need a mental health day after this!


    Heather
    Heather's Heart

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  32. Ron Clark says "Not every kid deserves a cookie" I tend to agree. In years past, I have used a rubric for certain awards. That curbed a few of the questions. I also have the kiddos "vote" for certain end of the year awards. It is a bit rigged (just to keep it real) but it keeps me out of the hot seat!

    Good luck!
    Callie
    http://www.teach-a-roo.blogspot.com/

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  33. Our awards are monthly... letters go out to parents of the kids earning one letting them know about the assembly. Now with all of the kids piled into one class, not every kid gets one. Parents whine. We get letters, emails and notes "why hasn't Janie received her award yet?" It's hard to put Janie on the list of recipients when Janie's mom complains weekly that she deserves an award.
    ❤Traci❤
    Dragonflies in First

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  34. We give out awards every month. We have to write little notes or call parents to let them know their child is getting an award. Not every child gets one now, because we have more children, so parents complain GREATLY. We don't have a committee to choose though; it's just the teachers who choose. :) Good luck with the wedding shower. Lisa

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  35. We have awards at the end of every 9 weeks. Last year, we had to give an award to each kid. It was kind of annoying! This year, we only give out a certain number of awards. You can have mutliple students receive the same award, but I feel it makes them work harder. And if you don't deserve an award, you don't get one!

    Bonnie
    Living A Wonderful Life

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  36. You are so not alone in this award business! We give awards at the end of each of our 6 weeks for A Honor Roll, A/B Honor Roll, and Perfect Attendance for that grading period. We only send out invitations to those parents whose child will be receiving an award. It does kill us when we have only one or two (or maybe three or four) students not get awards but we also feel that if they don't earn one they should not be handed one. There's too much just give something to the kids these days and not a lot of earning. But at the end of the year, for the last ceremony of the school year, we make sure that every student in our class does walk out with at least one award besides the usually academic and attendance awards. Like you, we have to stretch things sometimes for those little darlings who are questionable in earning one. But we always figure out something. Great post!

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  37. late to the comments here but its awards time and I am researching how people feel about them. here is my problem... A class of 20 first grader getting awards at end of year ceremony. There is 16 awards in total. A few based on fact, most AR points, etc. all others based on teachers opinion. So a teacher puts who she wants in the slot and all but 4 kids get an award. That leaves the 4 feeling sad and inadequate! One child said it is the same as bullying but the school is the bully and I agree/ see where he is coming from.

    So as teachers and adults think of it like this...
    Out of 20 teachers on staff, the school can give out 16 bonuses/ awards based on categories like perfect attendance, best personality, most friendly, etc. These awards are given out in a ceremony in from of all 20 staff and their loved ones. Now imagine you are one of the 4 teachers not worthy. Wouldnt you be sad or feel bad? I would! How can we expect young children to be more mature than adults. A teachers job requires logical thinking and the capability to feel empathy. So next time you want to tell a kid to suck it up when they are sad... Put yourself in their shoes!

    For a good read on a principal's view on awards please visit the link below. It is not mine but is a real good read.
    http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/1079#comment-132169

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  38. late to the comments here but its awards time and I am researching how people feel about them. here is my problem... A class of 20 first grader getting awards at end of year ceremony. There is 16 awards in total. A few based on fact, most AR points, etc. all others based on teachers opinion. So a teacher puts who she wants in the slot and all but 4 kids get an award. That leaves the 4 feeling sad and inadequate! One child said it is the same as bullying but the school is the bully and I agree/ see where he is coming from.

    So as teachers and adults think of it like this...
    Out of 20 teachers on staff, the school can give out 16 bonuses/ awards based on categories like perfect attendance, best personality, most friendly, etc. These awards are given out in a ceremony in from of all 20 staff and their loved ones. Now imagine you are one of the 4 teachers not worthy. Wouldnt you be sad or feel bad? I would! How can we expect young children to be more mature than adults. A teachers job requires logical thinking and the capability to feel empathy. So next time you want to tell a kid to suck it up when they are sad... Put yourself in their shoes!

    For a good read on a principal's view on awards please visit the link below. It is not mine but is a real good read.
    http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/1079#comment-132169

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  39. I share your agony. I have to provide awards for all children. We differentiate between academic awards and just boost self esteem awards....but the issue for me is what if you have a student and cannot think of ANYTHING to say...uuuuhhhhgggg! They just need to get nothing...YES I said it..NOTHING...but it doesn't work like that in my school, so I'm racking my brain even now to come up with something good to say about this student......Jesus help me!

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  40. I really like your awards and I tried to download them through SCRIBD, but I it requirers a paid membership - is it possible instead to download in word format or through Teachers Pay Teachers? Thanks so much! Karyn karyndieff@gmail.com

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