Teachers walk a fine line, says Jordan Catapano, an assistant principal al James B. Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
On one hand, he says, educators don’t want to frustrate students by setting standards so high an “A” is unattainable. But they also don’t want to bore students and leave them thinking the quality of their work doesn’t matter. The hope, he says, is students will “rise to the occasion.”
“The term ‘tough teacher’ can have a negative connotation,” he says.