Students need to learn accountability

Students keep track of completed assignments in Google classroom.

Cassidy Klock

Students keep track of completed assignments in Google classroom.

Picture this: You receive an assignment from your English teacher. It’s a critical thinking essay. You go home, plan out the piece, begin the introduction and work until the sun comes up the next morning. You end up turning the assignment into your teacher three days early, and you are rewarded by relaxing the entire weekend without having to worry about the essay. A few weeks later, you are handed back the assignment, and you have received a perfect score. Sounds pretty fair, right? You put in a great deal of effort and received a top-notch score. 

Now, picture this: Your best friend receives the assignment at the same time you do. She puts it off until Sunday night, the night before it is due, and she falls asleep while writing it. The next morning, she scrambles through the school doors begging for your help before English class. By the time English is finished, she just managed to hit the page requirement. A few weeks later, she receives back the assignment and notices she received a failing grade. She didn’t put in the same effort you did, and her grades reflected that. Again, seems pretty fair, right? Well, according to some students, this is wrong. 

As of today, many students will attempt to make the argument that teachers are the main reason students fail classes, and they fail to take accountability for their own actions when it comes to school work and grades.

Taking accountability is an absolute necessary skill for adulthood. Whether it’s for a job interview someone misses, a mistake made at work or a missed zoom call with a college professor, there won’t always be someone else to blame. 

Throughout the time I have spent on social media, I have noticed a flawed argument about English grades. The argument typically goes like this: English grades are a reflection of how much an English teacher favors a student because how good an essay is is subjective to the reader. While I do understand where the argument is coming from, it is entirely untrue and flawed. Students will often push the blame onto their English teachers after receiving a lower grade. When writing an essay, students are provided a rubric to follow. This rubric includes a simple breakdown of where every single point is coming from. This is one of the many tools English teachers will provide to attempt to help their students during their writing journey. Content, for the most part, is only a section of the rubric, while other parts of the rubric are for grammar, punctuation, whether or not the essay flows well together, page requirements, source requirements and more. Depending on the teacher, essays are typically a larger grade, but this is only because the students who put in the intended time and effort into the piece deserve for it to be a heavier grade due to all the work they have put into the piece. Whether or not an English teacher likes a student or not is not on the rubric, and the idea of the argument belittles the extensive work that these English students put into their grades. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have noticed a change with how much is expected from high school students. Classes are getting easier, and the workload is getting smaller. However, according to a study based in Dallas, TX, executed by the New York Times, five high schools in the area had more than a quarter of students failing two or more classes. Students will commonly use the argument that COVID-19 has majorly affected school and the high school experience, which is making it harder for kids to learn. Though even I believe this is true, it is not an excuse, especially seeing as the workload is getting lighter, not heavier. Learning through the pandemic was hard, but, luckily, we are exiting from that way of virtual life and are almost completely back to a normal way of living and learning. The excuses stemming from COVID-19 need to come to a close. 

Students taking accountability at a high school level should be a given. Without developing the skills of maturity and taking accountability during these four years, the world is doomed to failure, for these students who will be starting to work in places such as law enforcement locations and hospitals will refuse to take the blame for their much more severe actions.