Here is the message I shared with the students at Morning Assembly last week. I thought it would be good to share it with you parents as well.
Hello, students. We call you “students” because you’re enrolled at Regents Academy, which is a school, and if you have a school you have to have students, too.
But what is a student, anyway?
A student is someone whose job is to learn.
But here’s the problem. At our school, like most schools, we assign grades to your work. Excellent. Good. Satisfactory. Average. Poor. The whole reason we give grades to your work as a student is so that your parents can see how you’re doing: whether you’re learning what you’re supposed to be learning and making the progress you’re supposed to be making.
So, you are a student, and you learn. Along the way you get grades. But something quite subtle can go wrong, and it’s something that happens all the time.
Instead of being a student, someone whose job is to learn, your goal can get confused and tangled and undermined and become all about getting grades rather than being about learning. Are you at school to get grades? Is your job to make A’s or B’s? Is that the most important thing?
Making school all about getting a grade is really a way of missing the real purpose of school to start with.
Think about it:
Do you brush your teeth? Why? You brush your teeth to keep your teeth clean so you’ll have healthy teeth and a nice smile. But what if you hardly every brushed your teeth and then when you have a dentist appointment coming up, you brushed your teeth a few times before going to the see the dentist, just so the dentist will think you have clean teeth? Is that why you brush your teeth – to impress the dentist and keep him from thinking you’re gross? No! The purpose of brushing your teeth is to have healthy teeth! In the same way, if you study so that you can get a grade on a test, you’re not really being a student.
Or think about this. Why do your teachers teach? They teach in order to lead you to learn. But you know what? They also get a paycheck. What if they worked just to get money and did just enough to make sure that they get the paycheck at the end of the month? (Believe it or not, there ARE teachers like that out there!). If they did, they’d be missing the whole point of teaching, which is not to get a paycheck but to teach students.
This is what it’s like to go to school in order to get good grades! If you set your sites on getting good grades, you’re missing the point of being a student. Instead, set your sites on learning all that you can learn. Aim at cultivating curiosity and then trying to find knowledge. Do so because you love to know and you want to understand God’s world and know His will and His Word – then the good grades will come with it!
Listen to Proverbs 2:1-5, and pay special attention to the verbs:
My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
These verbs describe the work of a student whose goal is to learn. Be that wise student, students! Don’t be the foolish student just trying to get a grade and finish school. If you do you’re in danger of becoming an ignoramus. Seek for knowledge and search for wisdom! Be the wise student who loves to learn!