#97: Doing the Extra Soul Credit

Is this worth any points? they ask.
And I say, of course, but you won’t
see them in the grade book; instead,
you’ll feel them somewhere inside
your head or your heart–that’s why
we call it extra soul credit.
Very few students are motivated
by this. I don’t care. While I’m not
opposed to enrichment work, I am opposed
to extra credit, in principle,
because the work we do in class
is the work for the class.
You don’t build a thing for someone,
do a terrible job at it,
and then ask for something else
to do better.  No, the person
will either fire you or make you
build the thing correctly that
you were originally supposed to build
in the first place.  However,
you might go the extra mile for someone,
or, more importantly, for yourself,
ad that little something special at no charge,
or just be super cool and caring and understanding,
and at first, you get absolutely no compensation for that
except the warm fuzzy you feel and they feel for having
shared something positive with other humans
or for having created or accomplished
something unique, worthwhile, good.
You do the extra thing because it is worthwhile doing
in and of itself.  You’re doing the extra soul credit.
It’s good for you.  And, eventually, maybe,
even in some tangible way, it pays off.

ExtraCreditSign

2 Comments

Filed under Education, Poetry, Teaching

2 responses to “#97: Doing the Extra Soul Credit

  1. Alfie Kohn, who you shared with me 10 years ago, still reverberates with me today. Thanks, and good luck teaching intrinsic motivation. Maybe the history and “political issues” classes at Rex Putnam can finally address where all the “extrinsic motivation” in our lives comes from. “Is this worth any points” is a real life rationale, even if it’s not the true life.

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