Workout of the Day

Guest Post: Easy A


One of my least favorite things about teaching is the grading. Not because it’s a lot of work, but because the true purpose and value of grades, as we know them today, has become increasingly muddled with our expectations of what they say about our worth as humans, and what it means to be average, good, or the best. What I see in students’, parents’, and my own attitudes toward grading reflects a perspective that seems more and more prevalent: “good” isn’t good enough when “better” or “best” are on the table.

Where once a “C” was viewed as average -- and typical -- and an “A” was a sign of exceptional effort or skill, we now live in a world where “A”s are the norm. Today, if you tell a parent their child is “average,” don’t be surprised when they respond as if you’ve just insulted them. The word now carries a connotation on par with “mediocre.” Our society values exceptionalism, and nobody likes to be told that they’re not good enough.

Don’t get me wrong. This post isn’t about encouraging you to rest on your laurels, or to praise your children when they bring home a C average on their report card. I’m the first one who will preach the value of constant growth, of developing past your current capacities. The voice echoes in my ear all the time: why be good when you can be better? With the right context and the right perspective, that voice is one of the most valuable things in the world. We all want to live in a world where people are striving for better.

But let’s talk about that context and perspective. To return to our conversation on grading, I think we can all recall a class at some point in our educational career that had a reputation for providing a GPA-reviving “easy A.” If you took a class like that, I’m willing to bet you didn’t view the work you did there as your best -- as efforts you were proud of. Contrast that with the feeling of earning an "A" in a class where the teacher was a notoriously hard grader and maintained consistently high expectations. Not all "A"s are equal, and we know which one is more truly valuable. And yet, we can all remember the attraction of the class that promised recognition of exceptionalism with significantly less effort.

We want the best. And why not? The trick, though, is to remember that good, better, and best exist on a continuum separated by degrees of hard work, commitment, talent, and time.

-Joy Sprimont


  • For time:

    • 50 push-ups

    • 10 burpee box-overs (24/20”)

    • 40 toes to bar

    • 10 burpee box overs

    • 30 pull-ups

    • 10 burpee box overs

    • 20 ring dips

    • 10 burpee box overs

    • 10 strict L-pull-ups