As you know, I’m no fan of handing out of candy for academic performance or good behavior, but since my children’s elementary school changed principals a few years ago, the incidence of candy rewards in the classroom has dropped off considerably.
Now my daughter is in middle school and she recently rotated through a class with a teacher (if any of my Houston peeps know of whom I speak, please don’t disclose here) well known for handing out sugary treats. When I heard this news I cringed a little, but I assumed we were talking about relatively small amounts of candy to which I could turn a blind eye.
Um, not so much.
Over the last few weeks, good academic performance has been rewarded with full size bags of gummi bears (66* grams of sugar) and 12 oz cans of Coke (39 grams of sugar). Every class, every week. High-performing kids could (and did) receive both a bag of gummis and a Coke in a single class.
On the last day of the rotation, my daughter went up to this teacher’s desk for permission to go to the water fountain for a drink. Without asking her if she wanted it, the teacher turned to his mini-fridge and handed her a can of Coke. Her words to me later that day: “I like Coke, but he’s made me sick of it. I didn’t even want it!”
And here’s the kicker: yesterday my daughter moved on to the next teacher in the foreign language rotation. This teacher’s reward for high performance? Inexpensive bracelets and other trinkets from the country in question, which my daughter pronounced “cool.”
I’m guessing it took this new teacher maybe five more seconds of thought to come up with that idea, instead of lazily sinking to the lowest common denominator: sugary garbage.
If any of you have a worse classroom reward story, I’d really love to hear it.
[*Ed Update: Thanks to a catch by reader Linda, on 4/28 I changed the grams of sugar in the gummi bears to 66 grams, from 22. I hadn't noticed that there are three servings in the 5 oz. bag.]
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