And the Award Goes To!

Updated on May 31, 2012
K.M. asks from Streamwood, IL
20 answers

Okay, so end of year, kids get awards/certificates etc from the teachers and school, totally normal right? How would you feel if the award your child recieved was a "Joke" reward ... at 8? I am a bit bothered by this, mostly the age demographic, in highschool it may play off better. It also bothers me that it APPEARS that the teacher did not do too much to become involved, short story, maybe someone on here has more info. I know I can not jump to conclusions here, trying not to, but it just does not seem appropriate to me. How would you feel about this?

For those who do not read the link (SWH) the jist of the article is that an 8yr old student came home with an Award from the teacher that was presented for all the class to see the "Catastophe Award" for most exuses for not turned in homework. The mother says she was not aware of the difficulties, but the child was in an afterschool program geared towards homework (a bit of a contradiction). The school is backing the teacher with "it's a joke" and the mother/child are upset.

I am trying to justify this and not make the teacher a villain, but for this age group, I just can not seem to wrap my head around what the teacher was thinking. I am not of the opinion that all kids get awards, nor am I of the opinion that we should tear down their self esteem, I am of the opinion that kids need to learn the difference between a job well done and a poor job and how they are recived in childhood and adulthood. So, how was this award helpful, can anyone help me see any other side of this? Other than the mother will help her pay more attention to her homework in the future.

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answers from Houston on

Do not have an issue with this at all. Perhaps the mother should have been paying attention to her child. Perhaps the child should have stepped up to the plate and done her homework.

I glad the school is backing the teacher, they should. I don't care if the mother/daughter are upset. Too bad. They are upset about the wrong thing. If they daughter had done her homework, like she was supposed to do, this wouldn't have happened.

Actions have consequences, either negative or positive. That is life.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

At eight years old my daughter had a wicked sense of humor and sarcasm. She also knew that homework was not merely a "suggestion".

I'm willing to guess that there were lots of other joke awards. Now the mom is embarrassed because it truly is a reflection of the fact she wasn't dialed in to her child's education.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

She probably wasn't singled out, probably lots of 'joke' awards were handed out. This is a common thing. The mother just doesn't think it's funny because really, SHE should have gotten the award. As the mother of an 8-year-old, it's really my job to make sure my daughter stays diligent about her school-work. Sounds like the daughter learned how to make excuses from her mother.

If she was singled out, yeah, I'd have a problem with that, but it's most likely that all the students got some sort of joke award. I think it's important at this age to teach kids that it's ok to laugh at yourself. My 8-year-old tends to take things too seriously, so this is something that I'm working on with her. It was probably a fun time in her class. Probably someone got "Mr. Punctuality" for being late all the time, maybe someone got "Class clown" for talking all the time, etc. If I were that little girl, I'd be more embarrassed that my mother thought it justified to take this on the news. Shameful, if you ask me.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I think it depends on everything that was left out. Were there other joke awards given out? Were all the awards jokes? Are these the same awards given year after year?

She was not aware? Really so she has never said, how is school going? Do you have any homework? Ya know? All those questions we ask our kids.

I don't know if you are right that the mother will help her pay more attention to her homework. She was in a program to get her homework done, doesn't get any clearer than that, well one would think. Apparently this mom needed an award to drive the point home. Now the mom is trying to throw blame on the school. Does it sound to you like mom is taking any responsibility?

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I wonder if the little girl was really "humiliated" or if her mother is the one feeling humiliated.
Maybe the girl is sensitive and the teacher's sense of humor was lost on her, maybe it wasn't appropriate for that age group, I don't know. But I DO know this is a ridiculous thing for a parent to take to the media. Give me a break. I"m sorry her daughter's feelings were hurt but it's going to happen, that's life! She should be supporting her daughter and talking about her feelings with HER, not the local news station.
Sorry, but I believe in empowering our children, and part of that empowerment comes from learning how to deal with things that make you feel bad.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Well, not smart on the part of the teacher...

That said, if the child is enrolled in an afterschool tutorial program (or an aftercare study hall, which is what I perceived this to be) , how is the mother completely unaware that her daughter isn't handing in her homework? Did the communication completely break down between parent, child and teacher?

I think there's more than one wacky adult involved here. This sounds like another case of "out-of-touch teacher/out-of-touch parents"... no one wins the right to be the victim in this case.

I wish we could all just get over the idea that kids need awards for every little thing. The "Award" for doing well during the school year is moving on to the next grade....

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Maybe we should stop giving out all these awards. Awards for the best the least and the ones in between. Not all people can achieve everything and I keep hearing that "everyone" gets an award for doing something even if they are not good at it.

Since when did we teach our children that we give out certificates because they were part of the team that lost? When did we give out ceritificates because we just give them out? Your boss is not going to give you a certificate for completion on a job because you did a part. He "expects" you to perform and do it correctly the first time. Have we forget that there are losers and winners and that we must learn how to accept the results of both?

I will get off my soapbox now because I am a bit hot under the collar about how things are done in schools of late and team sports for young kids.

The other S.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I saw this on TV the other day and was appalled. If an 8 yr old isn't doing her homework the teacher should be reaching out to the parents. From what I understand the award was given out at a school wide award ceremony - even worse! It's not at all appropriate but if it was given to her in her classroom that would be bad - but this was just awful.

I have the feeling the teacher just doesn't like this child - or something. Let's face it some kids are not likable - but that doesn't mean she should be embarassed in front of the entire school when the over-acheiving kids are being awarded and made to feel awesome. Horrible.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I think the parent and teacher failed to communicate.
The teacher failed (perhaps tried and failed) to get across that there was a homework problem.
I don't know how the parent didn't have a clue what was going on.
When my son was in third grade we had to sign almost every piece of paper he wrote on, and his planner - sometimes it felt like dozens of signatures a night - and the teacher was quick to point out if something was not working.
I knew every day what was going on and we had parent teacher conferences when ever we needed to talk if email and phone conversations were not enough.
So now, at the end of the year, NOW the parent knows there was a problem, and decides the class knowing about the award is not enough and goes to the press with it.
Now people know on a national level that her child has a homework problem and her parents were not on top of it.
She cares more about perceived humiliation than about the fact her child wasn't turning in her homework and I just think her concern is misplaced.
I'm not totally convinced the teacher never ever mentioned this all year (they document these things to the hilt for just such an emergency) because I've known a few parents who just don't care and could not be bothered about the kids school work - teachers try to talk to them and it's like talking to a brick wall.
Rather than moaning about the award, I'd like to hear what the mothers plans are for parent participation with her child's school work next year.
If the award had little effect on the child, perhaps it served the purpose of a wake up call to her mother - and that's not a bad thing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

There is no justification for doing this to an 8 year old child. It doesn't matter if other kids were treated in this manner. I just don't find it funny or even amusing. Also, it's pretty pathetic that the teacher thought it would be funny to give an "award" for slacking. Welcome to America folks.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Pretty stupid move on the teacher's part. You're right - in middle school or high school, with the right kid, this would be funny. My absent-minded 8th grader would think this was a hoot. My sensitive 2nd grader would have been humiliated and ashamed.

Teachers can sometimes be off the mark...I posted a few weeks ago about how my Mother's Day card from my 2nd grader, made in school, contained the lines "What I would change about my mom is...," "What I wish my mom did more is...," "What I wish my mom did less is..." I really think that the clueless teacher thought this would be charming and humorous. It wasn't.

Same thing with this...the teacher and principal should apologize.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Eight years old is too young for such "humor." Especially calling it a Catastrophe award. It's just humiliating for the child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Honestly what is it with the awards and trophys???!!!!
I just don't get it, whether the award is "real" or a joke it all seems wrong to me.
The "reward" for doing your homework is a good grade, the "punishment" a bad grade. No need to call anyone out or make annoucements unless it's an honors list for older kids.
Why is the teacher wasting her time and the rest of the classes time handing out awards for anything? There are lots of ways to celebrate the end of the year in a unifying and fun way.
Awards for kids fufilling basic responsibilities or as a way to call out a kid for doing a poor job are just LAME.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Very bad decision for that age group!
I could see it as funny for a highschooler but even then you are giving attention to a young adult for messing up.... But there is always that picture of the "class clown" in the yearbook isnt there?
The child nor the parent are going to be scarred for life from this, but the school should be apologetic for this non professional error.
20 years from now when that award surfaces from the trunk of saved school stuff, it will probably be pretty hilarious by then.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Playing the objective card, that particular article didn't say the student was upset.

On to the speculation card, perhaps the mother was more upset than the daughter. Maybe the daughter laughed along with her classmates or even, the daughter was fully aware she was getting the award prior to getting recognition for it.

Yes, this is a horrible way to recognize students. I would be upset too, but only if it didn't bother my son if he got something like this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

This sounds like a wake up call for the mom!

Catastrophe is a harsh word, and probably not the best choice, I will agree to that. I did not read the link, just your post. If a kid stays for homework help, and still doesn't get his homework turned it, I am guessing mom had no idea what he has for homework and if it had been done or not. Sounds to me like we are not hearing the entire story. I'm guessing mom is assuming that the homework is being done afterschool in the homework program and not checking to see what was assigned and if it was done.

Most kids to not develop good study skills on their own. We as parents need to help our kids manage their time and see that assignments are complete. I'm also guessing that missing assignment notes have gone home, and probably often. There probably has been punishment at school for the missing assignments (working lunch or something). Bottom line,the choice of words were not great, but it sounds like the parents need a wake up call to step up to the plate and get involved in their son's school work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If they were older I might find humor in it, but at 8 I find it appalling unless it was explained to the students and parents ahead of time. Then it wouldn't have been as funny either, though, so it would be pointless either way. This really seems more appropriate for high school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

This seems to me to be one of those 24/7 news cycle stories. Not enough going on out there to fill all the news space. IMO, kids need to learn to laugh a themselves and their shortcomings and not to take life (and yes, even homework) too seriously. Frankly, late homework in 2nd grade is a lot more benign than late homework in high school. THAT would actually bother me more. If you are not doing your homework in high school, it could affect your grades - and college options - much more dramatically, thus impacting your future to a greater degree. 2nd grade? I think it's good that the teacher is lightening it up. We always so worried about our kids and their sensitivities that they are growing up with very thin skins. Life is tough. Humor is a good way to get through it, especially learning to laugh at yourself and give yourself a break. And it's never too early to learn that.



answers from Charlotte on

I saw the other thread about this before I saw this one. I haven't watched the GMA segment you cited in your SWH either, but I don't really need to watch it to know how I feel about what the teacher did. However, since reading one of the poster's remarks that the mother is talking on the TV about it, I will say that the mom is irresponsible by trying to make this her "15 minutes of fame", and that is not going to help her daughter in life, at all. (I hate those kind of people - blech! The majority of them are usually really selfish, and life is all about THEM! I know, I know, terrible over-generalization!)

I'm going to copy and paste my same response here that I wrote in the other thread:

If the child were older, it wouldn't bother me. But kids don't really "get" sarcasm until they're at least 10 years old, and sarcastic adults around children tend to border on abusive, in my opinion. I had my kids in gymnastics one place I lived, and one of the instructors was absolutely wonderful - I told him that when he applied to college (he couldn't afford to go and was working for several years to save the money) that I would write him a recommendation letter for his dream of being an elementary ed teacher, if he wanted me to - he was THAT great with kids. But the other instructor was what I NOW call a dickhead. (Sorry...) I heard his crappy remarks over and over until I "broke" and told him that I was sick of hearing how much he didn't like his job in front of the kids. He looked shocked and said he loved his job and I told him that the kind of sarcasm he dishes out on little kids, it sure didn't sound like it. From then on, he shut his mouth around me, though I'm sure he said plenty in front of the kids. (I doubt he listened to my admonition - people like that don't care whether it's wrong, to be honest.)

I don't know if this teacher you are talking about is the same kind of person or not, but I don't think I'd let that pass. Children this age generally don't understand the sarcasm, but it does affect them. It makes them feel bad inside, a little sick. When they get older, if they've heard stuff like this enough, they start to act sarcastic too.

This is probably how I would have handled it. I would have a talk with the teacher and maybe calmly torn her "award" into pieces in front of her. Then tell her that a caring instructor would sit a student down and have a heart-to-heart talk about the homework excuse problem. If she wants to be sarcastic with students, she needs to move to a higher grade where kids are old enough to understand her "jokes". I wouldn't be mean or catty. But tearing that award up in front of her would speak volumes.




answers from Rockford on

I do not think it was appropriate for the teacher to make that kind of public joke with an 8 year old at all. Also, the mom said she was unaware of the homework issue. She also said the child was enrolled in homework assistance. If she knew she was in a homework help program, then, yea, she knew there would have been homework issues! The mom does not really sound like she's on her game here! I mean, where did she think her kid was after school everyday? She didn't know? Yikes! That's even worse than not knowing about the homework problems.

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