This society with its emphasis on making someone the best means someone is always the loser. This competition for adoration starts young, when students are subjected to enforced spelling bees and honor rolls in elementary school. It is not that I am opposed to celebrating students, I just don’t understand the need to always give them something. To hand them a diploma stating that they are indeed number 1 at whatever we decide. While personality awards like the ones Matt discussed may seem harmless, I wonder, how does the child feel that really wanted to most improved in math and didn’t get it? Or the child that has been working hard to be kind toward all but is not recognized for it? We are also making losers out of them.
Awards are a slippery slope and while we as teachers think that it boosts students self-esteem, how often does it hurt it? How often does the innocent title that we give a child in order to raise their self-esteem end up boxing them in instead? When we choose to focus on one trait of a child’s personality, no matter how kind our intentions were, we in essence tell the child that this is the one thing I have noticed and all of these other things, you did not quite excel enough in. Why the need for recognition? Can we not through our own words and actions give these children enough recognition without having to do it in awards form? Is this society so entrenched in awards and making losers out of someone that we have to make up awards just to reach all children? If that is the case, then I guess I am not doing my part.