Red Ink Essay

1040 words - 5 pages

Red is the general color used for grading papers in school. Students are raised with red ink being the mark of failure. With all the negative thoughts it brings, red ink can be very detrimental to the growing mind,slowly leading to depression or even worse. Because of this, red ink may be one of the worst serial killers ever known to man. Yet, despite its wicked habits, schools continue to use it as their number one grading tool, encouraging this negative spiral to keep spinning downwards.
Teachers tend to use red pens when grading and editing homework and tests. It is especially used for editing essays and written responses. As students advance through school they quickly learn the negativity of red marks. When they get back their graded assignments they quickly look for how much, or how little, red ink is on their paper and begin to compare the marks with one another. Kids that show to have more marks than others are labeled as stupid, slackers, or slow by their peers. Though the red marks were meant to correct errors, help students learn to fix their mistakes, and encourage kids to grow in their knowledge, these marks actually create a caste system within the school. The school gets split into cliches: the A students, the B-C group, and then the remaining kids whose grades seem to get lower and lower as time goes on.
Research is finding that labels kids are given in school become fixed on them, like tattoos on their foreheads, and stick with them for the rest of their lives, often choosing the path the student will follow in life. Students perceived to do poorly, and are labeled as below-average students, tend to live out that label. They see their failing grades and “realize” they aren’t as good as the rest and then give up trying to compete with their fellow classmates. Like a plant that goes without sunlight or water, they begin to wither away. Their self-esteem begins to fade as their grade drops. Seeing their lower grades they get more upset with themselves and continue thinking that they aren’t as good as the others, and asking themselves, “Why even try?”. This downward spiral keeps spinning as the cycle keeps producing more and more negative thoughts and more and more red ink appears on their papers. People expect less from them, so they continue to put less effort in, constantly comparing themselves to those who excel above them and criticizing themselves more and more, lowering their self-esteem.
This downward spiral eventually leads to failing, just like falling down the basement stairs and landing with a hard “Thud!” on the cold hard cement. At this point some just give in and drop out, others get held back, still some are just pushed through the system and onto another year of failing grades. Most drop outs don’t go back for their GED, and studies show that most kids who get held back in their later years of schooling tend to become dropouts. Colleges don’t...

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