How To Know If Your Teacher Is Grading You Unfairly

Hi Heather,

I go to a small school and everyone is encouraged to join a sports team, whether they are athletic or not. This year I received 80 percent in gym class, and when I talked to the other girls in my class, I discovered they also received 80 percent . With further investigation, it was discovered that all the boys received different marks, 85 and 90 percent. When we asked our teacher how he calculates his marks, he admitted that he just pulls number from the air. All us girls have been on every sports team, while the boys just joined the ones they want. The other thing is that I don’t think all of the girls are at the same skill level, yet we all received the same mark. Is my gym teacher low key sexist? What should I do about it? How do I know if he’s grading us unfairly?

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Okay, well, I think you answered your own question here when asking how to know if he’s grading you unfairly – he very clearly is if he’s just “pulling numbers from the air.” That is… not okay or acceptable in any way. And, to be honest, I’m shocked he would even admit that to a student. I don’t know if he’s sexist (although, I mean, he sounds pretty sexist to me), but I definitely think you need to talk to someone else at the school about this.

Before you talk to someone else, I would advise you to talk to this guy again. Ask him if you can speak after class or practice or something, and then make a strong case for why you believe you deserve a better grade. If he acts rude, says something stupid, or refuses without any legitimate sounding reason, then you can take the next step, which would be speaking to your parents and/or someone else at the school.

Go to a teacher you trust, a guidance counselor, or the principal – whatever you’re comfortable with – and present your case to them. Keep in mind that teachers and other figures of authority in a school are usually inclined to agree with a teacher over a student, especially in the case of unfair grading. They see a lot of students who argue for a better grade who don’t deserve it, and unfortunately this can make some of them believe that of all students. Have a compelling reason for why you deserved a better grade. Maybe it was that you did all the participation asked of you, you tried your hardest, and you were never told you were doing something wrong. Start with that argument before you call him sexist or say that it’s not fair because all the boys got higher scores. You can, and should, bring that up, but first make things more personal.

It might also be helpful to get some of the other girls in on it. Making a group complaint instead of a single would might make a bigger impact in this case. If you can find enough girls who are willing to fight their grades, you should all go to someone in the school and argue for a higher grade. It shows that your teacher was doing something truly unfair – handing out the same grade to every student.

If no one at the school will listen, go to your parents and see what else you can do. If you truly feel you deserve a higher grade, then fight for it! Don’t let one person tell you no and stop you from trying to get what you worked for. Keep fighting until someone listens to reason. The bottom line is that what your teacher said is not okay. If he’s going to grade that way, he should probably find a different job. Don’t let him get away with this! Good luck!

Good luck!
Heather

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