Grades are a thing that Ryan has become interested in over the last few years. He’s gone from not bothering to tell us that he made his school’s honor list to actively tracking his grades online in the hopes of remaining on the honor roll.
We are, of course, tremendously proud of him. Not so much because he is getting good grades, although that is wonderful. We’re proud of him because he cares, and because he cares he puts in the extra effort needed to keep his grades up. He willingly stays after school for extra help. He insists on studying with us and always asks if he has done enough.
After sailing through the first marking period this year, he ran into difficulty in algebra. This was doubly vexing. Ryan became used to success, and used to us telling him how his brain is remarkably suited for math. Suddenly, the subject that had always come naturally was giving him trouble. He worried, plenty. He showed signs of the type of crippling anxiety that has cropped up before. We worked with his case manager and aide to make some modifications to his homework in the hopes of reducing his worries.
But mostly, he buckled down and put in the time, doing problems over until he got them correct. It didn’t come easily, but he began to master the concepts that were giving him trouble.
Still, grades were troublesome for him. He very much wanted to make to the honor roll. To do so he needed all As and Bs. He was sailing along in every other subject, but his algebra grade hovered around a C. Since we are able to view his grades in real-time online, he became invested in knowing exactly where he stood.
His last few assignments and quizzes came back with better marks, and we hoped his average had risen enough to get him into the B range. Not because a grade changes how we feel about him, but because it changes how he feels about himself.
Finally, the online grade portal updated. Final grade for the marking period: 81. Firmly in the B range.
Veronica showed Ryan. And because everything in our house must have something to do with hockey, this is how he reacted:
“HONOR ROLL BABY. WHAT AN AMAZING COMEBACK. LIKE IF THE DEVILS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!”
I love Ryan’s work ethic. I love his emerging self-confidence. I love his spirit. I love that he is PROUD of himself. I love that kid.