Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Survey Says...

My team has not won a game yet but we are getting better! Out of our twelve kids, five are eighth graders which is a bit misleading because only two of them have ever played before this year. we also have five sixth graders which puts at a disadvantage as we play against teams of 8th graders. The following is about the team I coached six seasons ago. It is from October 9, 2007.

I called my five eighth graders out of basketball practice this morning and gave them an assignment. Spreading them out over a cafeteria table, I handed each a list of the twelve girls who will suit up for games this season. They were instructed to rank each player except themselves. Each of their teammates was to be given a rating from 1 to 11, with 1 being the strongest player and 11 being the girl with the most need of improvement. My student assistant, Sonja, and I did the same. During my free period, I added up the scores and divided by the number of rankings. The best/lowest score was 1.2 and the highest average was 9.9. Sonja and I felt the kids were accurate in their evaluations of each other. The votes were anonymous and I told the eighth graders not to discuss their scale. The girls will never know the compiled numbers; it was simply a way for the coaches to gauge the impressions of the players who sometimes see things we don't and sometimes are oblivious to the obvious.

Later in the day, I talked to the girls about their responses and told them I thought they did a good job in assessing each other. Then I asked another question: If they had to sign their evaluation and we posted it in the locker room, would their rankings have changed? Universally, the girls agreed they would have. They would have graded each other higher and the younger girls lower. I appreciated their honesty. I feel the same way. I despise evaluating other people, especially if they know what my assessment is. I tend to hedge on the high side and shy away from criticism. Maybe I should clarify that a bit. I don't mind assessing kids- that's my job. It becomes uncomfortable for me when the subject is a peer, another adult. Maybe that is why I have no aspirations of ever becoming a school administrator. Some of my students mistakenly believe the Bible condemns any form of judging but that isn't accurate. We have to make judgments between good and evil constantly and the vessels of the good and evil are our fellow human beings. Jesus warned that we would be judged in the same we judge. In his "blessed are the merciful'' beatitude, the Lord gave us the perfect attitude of evaluating but he did not teach us to be blind. We often say what we think others want to hear instead of the truth. I asked one of our sixth grade players this morning if she understood what the older kids just demonstrated and she told me she did. I pressed her on it and she confessed that she had no clue. She did not want me to be mad at her- I wasn't- so she fudged on her answer. Maybe we fudge publicly while we hit the target with our private diagnoses. It can be a tightrope. I manage to fall off it frequently. The Lord spends considerable time being my safety net.

Applicable quote of the day:
"How easy it is to judge rightly after one sees what evil comes from judging

Elizabeth Gaskell

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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