The A+ Student
Don't get me wrong, I think valuing your education and learning as much as you can is something to be admired, and if that results into getting great grades--so be it. However, what I've noticed over the past years is that the kids who obtain the best grades often don't value education and learning at all, they care about a 4.00 GPA and other things that could be deemed as superficial.
A lot of these kids only strive for good grades because they believe that they don't have the right to define themselves, they believe society defines them. Since society tends to label people with good grades as intelligent, successful, and as good examples; kids strive for good grades because they want to be seen as intelligent, successful, and good examples. Children have also often been labeled as unattractive socially and physically by the media and society, so they try to obtain good grades because they feel like they have nothing else going for them. Another pattern I see in these kids is having extremely demanding parents. This is a pattern I see constantly; strict parents who will see their child as stupid if he or she does not get perfect grades, and they make that very clear. Most don't want to be seen as stupid, especially by their parents, this is sometimes what motivates kids into getting good grades. Other times a child has parents that neglect him or her, or show very little affection. Getting good grades is an attempt to get their parents attention, or maybe get a sliver of love.
Even the grading system, to me, seems repulsive. Someone else judging your work, and then telling you whether or not you tried your best. I mean, there are exceptions to this, like math, and getting facts wrong. But I think the person who did the work is able to judge whether or not they did their best, and I think this reinforces the idea that it doesn't matter how you see yourself, it only matters how others see you. We should be glorifying qualities like passion, bravery, curiosity, creativity, etc. We shouldn't just glorify a person because of some letters on a piece of paper. That means nothing. We are so much more than just letters and numbers. Therefore, if we deem children with good grades as great then in a way we are promoting low self-esteem in children, bad parenting, and the idea that other people have every right to judge you on what you do and think, and other people should be able to label what you do or think as good or bad. I said it before, and I'll say it again. Don't get me wrong, I think valuing your education and learning as much as you can is something to be admired, and if that results into getting great grades--so be it. However, for most kids who get good grades, this is not the case.