Today is one of my very favorite days. I finished my grading. Then, before I turn in the final grades, I write each student who made an A to personally congratulate that individual. For someone who works that hard and did that well, I think something more than an anonymous grade report is appropriate. So, I wrote out the following letter and then emailed it to each student who made an A. I very much like doing this. It makes me smile. I have worked with these folks for months and they responded to my challenge. I get a real thrill from being able to let them know that the work was worth it (in my opinion) because they received the highest possible grade. A is for Excellent!!!!
Mr. or Ms. XXX,
I wanted to let you know that I have finally completed the grading for Accounting 302 and you have earned the grade of A for the spring semester. Congratulations!!! As I am sure you are aware, it is a very challenging course. It is a course that requires a lot of work and requires that the work be done consistently over an entire semester. Most students can be excellent for a week or two but it takes a special talent to perform consistently excellent work for an entire semester at this level of difficulty.
I always believe that every student is capable of making an A but you were one of a small group that actually did earn that A. You were one of the few who managed to make it happen. Good for you! I am proud of you and pleased by how well you did. More importantly, I hope you are proud of yourself.
It was a pleasure working with you this semester. I enjoy having the chance to work with every student but I’m always delighted by those students who have the drive, ambition, and passion necessary to get an A in this course. If I can ever be of assistance in the future, please let me know.
And, finally, I want to request a favor. For the last decade or so, it has been my custom to ask the students who make an A in any of my classes to write a paragraph or two to guide the next group of students. You may remember reading (at the beginning of this semester) the advice given by the A students from last fall. I think it is very helpful for one group of excellent students to explain to the next group how it is done. You can save them a lot of time and experimenting. Students will believe what other students say 100 times more often than they will believe what I tell them. “Here’s how I managed to get an A in Professor Hoyle’s class” can be a great help to the next “crop” of students. I hope, over the next 2-3 days, that you’ll sit down and write out what you did that worked so well and send it to me by email for distribution next fall.
My only two requirements: be serious and be honest. You know how you did it – share that information with future students.
Congratulations!!!! Go out and celebrate!!! YOU DID IT!!!!
Have a great summer!!!! Yeah, work hard but make time to read books and go to museums and check out art galleries and talk to as many people as you can and learn about who they really are. You need a broad education about the wonders of life as well as a great knowledge of accounting.