Our students are tasked to work on "Reflective Journal" on a daily basis. RJ, for short, consists of one or more questions that test the students' understanding for the day. This also allows us to assign an appropriate grade to aid in their learning. The outstanding students would share their insights on the lessons while others might just repeat what was delivered in the classroom.
The system responsible for the grading will analyse each lecturer's input and inform us about our "leniency". If your score is negative, you are considered as a "strict" marker, giving grades lower than your peers. A positive score means the lecturer is giving grades higher than the peers.
I didn’t pay heed to the score system till my students start telling me "you've never given an A to anyone. How do I get an A for RJ?" And one of the most common remarks is "Why did you give me a B when there's no negative feedback from you?"
"Am I not lenient enough?"
I did a bit of self-reflection and found myself to be contradictory. On one hand I tried to be encouraging in my feedback (not being blatant with what the problems were), on the other hand the grades I've assigned were putting them down.
This reminded me of ex-clients would tell us how great the projects idea were but they weren't interested to be one of the sponsors. Why were those clients trying to tell us?
It was a moment of eureka - encouraging words should come with encouraging actions.
The students found discrepancy in my grading and comments, and these actions weren’t helping in their learning or understanding towards a problem. This could be translated in a lot of relationship problems. Do you really mean what you say?
This could also be translated in human relationships.
I had the "same" problem in my previous relationship, not giving the right “feedback” that matches my sentiments. There were times I felt really angry towards certain matters but appeared as nonchalant, or even pleased, about them. The aftermath was self-destructive. The grudges I held on to were escalating and that strained the relationship.
Well, we all learn our lessons.
The course of teaching definitely shed more light on me. Encouragement, however, should only be given in moderation and appropriate junctures. Any surplus would lose its purpose. But if they are not told where the problem lies, they will be walking in the dark.