Getting Good Grades

Dealing with pressure in school.

Comments (16)

(16) Bobby 5000, February 19, 2011 5:51 AM

Two goals

You have to try to do two contradictory things in life. First, you want to work hard to achieve an objective such as good grades. But if you do not achieve it, you do not want to get depressed or make the failure something that characterizes you. Instead, you want to remain happy and confident and simply try to improve. On TV and elsewhere, you see coaches yelling at their players when they lose. In fact, some of the best coaches realize that their task is to keep confidence and enthusiam high. Vince Lombardi, known as one the toughest and most demanding coaches, could sometimes be surprisingly easy on his team when they lost. John Wooden whose basketball team won a record 11 national championships in 13 years, didn't talk about winning. He just wanted his players to work at hard as possible but not get nervous about the final result.

(15) Chaya, February 17, 2011 1:40 AM

I wish

I'm a senior in high school and I wish I could agree with this! It would be lovely if the only grades that counted were midos, but the stress on good grades is not only peer-pressure or personality. Sometimes it has to do with making the qualifications for a scholarship, and sometimes it has to do with being accepted to a certain college or seminary, which eventually will lead to passing the college exams in order to be able to support your family with a nice salary. It would be so nice and ideal if midos were the only thing that counted, but the pressures of present and future finances are important too.

(14) devorah, February 16, 2011 3:05 PM

while it true that noone marries someone based on their grade, people (in some circles) do marry based on what seminary/ yeshiva a person went to. so if your say a 16-17 year old kid and you want to get into a certain school because yoy know that when your in shidduchim people are going to judge you based on which school you went to then you will do everthing in your power to make sure that happens. at that age you're not mature enough to relise that you want to be judged by your middos and character and not be deemed a good person because you went to such and such school.

(13) Anonymous, February 15, 2011 11:25 PM

Grades do count...

Lori, Of course middos and effort are the most important, but if you want to get into medical, dental or law school...and yes, a good yeshiva or seminary, grades count...

(12) Guy, February 15, 2011 11:22 PM

Ah, too true!!

I got good grades in HS, try NOT to with a stern Jewish mother, and both parents were Doctors! 5 kids, 4 very professional, me, well, all I really wanted was to be a great nurse, nothing more, nothing less. Killed my mother, as she reminded time and again.... But the connection to our stories, in nursing school, I worked my fanny off, working late on the books, extra labs, volunteering at every level I could, only to find out that it was a simple PASS/FAIL, oh boy..... I had nothing less than a B my entire life, even with a broken arm and PE was less than perfect, still walked away with a B, bit now I am faced with a basic FAIL/PASS, I was so upset, could not believe it.... Truth, who cares! i worked hard, perhaps too hard, but now, I am the Charge Nurse for a very large hospital group, making a wonderful living, it all paid off, but, could have been/done less.... Thanks Lori, as always, love your stories!

(11) Anonymous, February 15, 2011 9:48 AM

Its human nature to strive for success

Unless you are lazy and don't care. Most people don't want to fail. We are constantly reminded of those who took the wrong path in life and ended up at the bottom. We are motivated through that negative reinforcement that if we don't meticulously premeditate our future then we will end up like the lowest common denominators of society.We are driven to succeed ; failure is not an option. Hence, reach for the stars.Yes I was one of those compulsive assiduous students who wanted to be the best. There were times where I slacked off and regretted it much so. Humans are naturally competitive creatures. Sometimes we overdo it. There are times where I feel I retrospectively could have had a better life if I had a stronger conviction to excel.Sometimes doing your best is not always enough. But maybe its best to only focus on your inner strengths rather than comparing yourself to other people. Most parents want their kids to have a better life and future than they did. That's why they push their kids to their limits.Yes kids need to cut some slack for themselves but there are circumstances where good grades are imperative.

(10) Anonymous, February 15, 2011 2:22 AM

Thank You!

Thank You so much Lori! I really needed to hear this, for i am a high school student who cares to much about my grades. I've been recogniznig that gradezs aint e/t and there's lots more in life than them. But it was such a great reminder so thanx!!!

(9) Elizabeth Klein, February 15, 2011 1:51 AM

great......brought back self-imposed pressure memories for me too!

B'H Lori, Once again, in a short capsule, you give over basic truths! It was so very wonderful to have met you last week in San Jose! Please know that since our kollel's Women's learning day, you've many, many more followers on your blog. Keep enlightening us, dear lady. Kol Tuv!

(8) Anonymous, February 14, 2011 5:06 AM


As a high schooler I impose pressure on myself and from classmates. Thank you for this wonderful segment! I look forward to your video every week!

(7) sharona, February 13, 2011 9:21 PM

good message

so true that later the grades don't matter anymore. We should acknowledge how the students feels, and also remind them to Not stess too much but just do their best, every effort of theirs counts. - Very true that character traits counts more in life

(6) tiger teacher, February 13, 2011 7:43 PM

max da potential!

There is a great movie out called "race to nowhere". Check it out. Also, tests are a tremendous motivator and gives satisfaction for the children who do well and excel. The tone of the article is that just do the best you can and who REALLY cares. We are developing the "whole" child for long term growth ambition and happiness. There is something to be said for not dumbing everything down, having high aspirations and congradulating achievement.

(5) Anonymous, February 13, 2011 5:20 PM

people do look at the yeshiva or seminary

Unfortunately, many perspective in-laws do look to see if the suggested person went to a "top" yeshiva or semi-nary. Same with college minded parents or future spouses. This attitude is perpetuated by principles and advisors. Why on earth does everything have to be measured in academic success? Some of the most amazing people in the world, with the best middos a spouse could hope for, didn't do well in school. Still, they became the most amazing spouses and parents and teachers. It just rubs me the wrong way when I see a student studying for a Chumash final on Shabbos!

(4) Mordechai Shuali, February 13, 2011 4:07 PM

Rabbi Miller's Final Exams

Rabbi Avigdor Miller z"l often commented that he could not attend this affair or travel out of town for some event, because he was studying for his final exams. If he had simply done the best he could, we would have been robbed of one of the greatest leaders on recent times. Addressing ones learning, prayer, and mitzvah observance with seriousness and with a sense of anxiousness is certainly one of the traits one often looks for when looking for a mate. And shouldn't it be? While there is too much pressure placed on our children in school the alternative is NOT to encourage mediocrity. The answer is learning less material, but learning it to perfection. Drill, review, test, and review again. By doing so, time has proven, much more "ground will be covered" and with much more understanding. Noach is admonished by some for being only as good as he could be considering his generation. He should have done more, pushed himself beyond. Perhaps we need to look at grading systems, but not grades. Perhaps we need to look at curricula, but not studying. Perhaps we need to look at homework loads, but not school work. But to substitute pressure-driven striving for mediocrity is a formula for failure.

(3) Sarah, February 13, 2011 1:26 PM

The pressure is inhuman

Thank you for your wise words, Lori. I wish I could send this to the principal of the public elementary school where I teach, but even though she is a religious - Catholic - woman, she wouldnt' appreciate hearing your message. She judges not only her students but her teachers on test scores. Not only the children but the teachers are under inhuman pressure to produce high test scores so that the school will be rated "Exemplary" by TEA (Texas Education Association) and others will "know" that our school is one of the best. And yet, how are children treated? Often, with disrespect. How are teachers treated? As producers of high test scores. When we are under personal pressure, this is not taken into consideration. Rather, we are told that perhaps we don't have what it takes to teach at this school. For three years, I have taught in public school, for the first time in more than 12 years, and my health is failing. I have developed ulcerative colitis and a whole host of physical ills. I cannot quit - not in this economy - but I also cannot get across your message to my principal - that the ultimate "test" is how we treat each other - with compassion and acceptance and kindness - which, ironically, are posted as "this is what we do at our school" in the foyer. It is a sad place to work...

(2) Ayalah Haas, February 13, 2011 1:26 PM

Best "Lori Almost Live" Segment!

What a remarkable message! I especially appreciate your reminder that our King of Kings wants us to "do your best." The way you say it is so empowering to hear - THANKS. On this topic, I also highly recommend the "Education vs. Conditioning" class by Rabbi Motty Berger. You can hear it on this website, and it is truly eye-opening.

(1) Alan S., February 13, 2011 10:32 AM


Every word spoken, while wonderfully idealistic, only tells half the story. Rebbitzen Palatnik herself says that getting good grades is necessary for getting into the good college or grad school or yeshiva. Article after article on describes people dating for marriage with criteria that similarly looks at only the date's potential career success. And that means that while no one is interested in their date's grade in high school biology, the world still realizes that a college admissions committee probably will be. All parents tell their children to do their best, but if their child doesn't make "the grade", the parent's fret over what college will accept them. I am the first to agree that all parents want their children to, first and foremost, excel at the humanistic qualities described by Rebbitzen Palatnik. However, for better or worse, society conditions our children, and their parents, to achieve the best scores possible.


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