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Grade Some of Your Projects with an ‘NY’

Question: I hate it when I fail on a project. How do I get over it?

I recently heard a Ted Talk that addressed the present grading system used in schools. The speaker felt it would be wise to consider getting rid of the grades that represent failure and use the grade “NY”, which stands for “Not Yet”. This means that although you didn’t master the subject at this time, with further study you may be able to bring it up to an acceptable grade.

That is such a positive way to approach grading. It also matches what we do after we are out of school. We don’t focus on people as if they are “failing”. If they didn’t achieve the desired results, we tell them to try again. And then a third time—and so on until they accomplish what they want. We should always offer people hope, and to be at a “NY” stage is exactly what makes us try harder and harder so that we can get to where we want to be.

When I was about three or four, I had an aunt who used to put me in my playpen and give me many sizes of cardboard boxes and a roll of masking tape. I would find all sorts of ways to tape them together into cars, cities or whatever I wanted them to be. She said I would play in the playpen for a good part of the day. She’d ask me if I was done yet and said my response was always “Well, not yet!” I guess I had more things to make. She said every day I made something different and had to explain to her what I created.

What are the things where you have an “NY”? Of course you should also always concentrate on the things that you are genius at, but maybe you should make a list of areas where you have an “NY” grade and see if it’s time to upgrade them!



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