Trojan Talk: School Pressure | Print |  E-mail
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Friday, 20 May 2011 11:25
By Nic Barradas


As a student, I constantly contemplate the pressures that I have to do well in school. My parents are always on me about doing well.


I have the pressure to succeed from colleges so that they will accept me. Sometimes competition with other students or maybe a teacher’s encouragement drives me to do better.

But rarely have I thought about it from a teacher’s perspective; what affects their decisions about grades, and how it affects me as a student.


In a recent interview with a teacher at CVHS who wished to remain anonymous, I was given insight into what goes through a teacher’s mind when they have to maybe fail a student or negatively affect a student’s future.


“There’s a big push for academic rigor, that means our courses have to be harder, and more college preparatory. But if our courses are harder, not as many students are going to be getting A’s.


“If we teach more academically rigorous courses, our grades are going to be more spread out. You might have a few A’s, but more B’s and C’s. But there is a push for students to go to college. So if we have this standard for academic rigor, how do we create that and then ensure students get into college,” the teacher stated.


“I know that if you have B’s and C’s, students really start to get stressed about it. The more difficult the class, the more stress we are putting on students. So how do you balance those two? Between academic rigor, and making sure your students have grades good enough to get into college.


“Because the system is so competitive, if you have a C and you are applying to UC, you’re out of luck. Teachers know this, when we see that we are giving a C to a student, it doesn’t always mean that they are unintelligent or that they’re not motivated, but maybe that they just didn’t grasp the material. It’s really hard to give them that C, because you want them to go to a good school,” the teacher continued.


So, maybe the problem is that we are evaluating schools based on how many of their students go to a four-year University, not on whether they are able to do well or even complete the program. Say CVHS’s classes were all easy and that students at CVHS earned a 4.0 GPA on average. Well great, we would all get into college, but how many of us would be competitive at that level?


You can easily find the percentage of how many CVHS students went to a four-year university last year, it’s 40%. But we don’t have a measure of their success in college or after. High School should be about preparing yourself for the next step in your life not about the GPA.


Nic Barradas is a senior and student journalist at Castro Valley High School.



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