Actions, not Grades

“Grades don’t define a person. Their actions do.” - Mme. Deki, Prinicipal at ELC High

Even though this was something I thought I understood, it feels different when someone else says it out loud. Especially if that person is one of the leaders of the school. When a teacher expresses sentiments such as this, it reflects in students’ behavior and approach to their school.

While at Phillips, it is easy to get caught up in grades, the competitiveness, and most definitely the stress. In my experience, there is always pressure while at Andover to perform better than fellow peers. All of a sudden, school becomes so focused on grades that it forgets the individual.

This difference of approach has been exemplified while staying at the ELC school here in Bhutan. Every student I’ve interacted with at this school seem extremely happy with the direction the school is going. Stress is almost nonexistent, and grades are not the primary thing on their minds. Instead, they seem the most passionate when talking about different projects they have worked on as part of the Design for Change template. Whether it be reducing paper waste, making their own uniform, or even refashioning plastic water bottles into plates and cushions, each student seems more invested in the well-being of the country more than a simple grade.

While this is a very interesting difference of approach to schools, in my opinion, it is also important to note the difference of the styles of each school. But it is also curious to wonder what a Phillips Academy, or any high school in America really, would look like in this type of format. What if, in the U.S., students were graded by their actions instead of being validated by a number or letter at the top of some paper or test (like the ELC school)? Now that would be interesting. 

- Ishaan