Page 10 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 4
P. 10

W What’s My Score? By Joe Igel
hen I first learned of my decision. And those at the other Unfortunately, these concerns became that this issue’s theme end of the spectrum thought they calls from home and ultimately,
was Teamwork, I was could relax and some or all the work I was forced to change back to a excited. There is so would be done for them. I arrived at more traditional format, blending
much out there, so much to say, so this decision from what I learned from an individual grade and a form of
many important notions. However,
that was quickly muted by how
exactly to address the subject. Then, I remembered an event in my career that had been especially important to me.
I spent 35 years of my working life
in construction, but I started as a secondary teacher and had the rare opportunity to go back and teach several classes while still working primarily in construction. During that time, I was teaching a class in which I had assigned a project where students, as a small group, would be required to research a topic, prepare and deliver
a report in a panel discussion format.
I decided and advised each group that whatever grade the group was awarded was the grade that each member of the group would also receive.
What came next surprised them all.
I decided who was in each group and intentionally put together students of widely different work ethic. Those with a high work ethic panicked as they thought of their GPA slipping because
business, namely that while individual excellence is important, it was of little value if the group, department, or “team” did not all profit from it, use it and all rise to the occasion and excel. And this “condition” is something
that we have all probably seen many times. A great deal of education is all about this individual excellence, and transcripts, resumes extol the virtues of a student’s GPA, service record, and so on. And I grant, these are important, but are not always a good indicator
of business success after education is complete. And that was the rationale for my decision.
This procedure had been in place
for less than a week before the
first students started coming to me with their concerns. They were having trouble motivating their group members. Some were worried because they had overheard others expressing their concerns. I explained that they could motivate the others
in their group, do the work for them or something else in between.
individual merit into a grade for this part of the project. But I still liked the idea and, while I have never had the chance to try it again, I believe that the student reaction would now be stronger, quicker, and more intense. And thus, the need for something like it that much more important.
Fortunately, there are some activities like sports and scouting that build the idea group success, that regardless of one individual’s talent and abilities, it will not consistently make the group or team effort better. Our younger son was a soccer goalkeeper and I would frequently tell him that if he played
a perfect game, he made the game winnable, but he himself did not win it. He, together with his team, could win it. It is thus my belief that we need to reevaluate the way we recognize individual achievement, and in a way that rewards those that work together for the benefit of all.
Mr. Igel recently retired as vice president of the George J. Igel & Co., Inc. after working there for more than 35 years.
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