By Pavitra Antony
Don Rag weeks are very close, here at St. John’s (Santa Fe), for us. The Don Rag is a special assessment experience we have here in which your tutors sit around you at the end of a semester and talk about you in third person in front of you. Unlike other schools where you don’t have to keep track of your progress and every test stands on its own, here every class you attend matters and develops the idea of you in your tutor’s eyes. Each time I have Don Rag, I’m able to more accurately gauge my own performance in class and have a better understanding of myself as a student. At your Don Rag you see yourself as a student through your tutors’ eyes, your achievements and your growth as wells as your shortcomings.
Don Rags are not like grades, in a way they are much more. They are an opportunity for introspection, an opportunity to relive your successes in the classroom and to reconsider your failures. Don Rags are a tool to help classroom learning because they are another chance to learn about yourself and how you can help the class improve as a whole.
A senior at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, Andrew Sparks says: “I like Don Rags because they give me a more accurate representation of how I’m doing in class. I tend to be harsher on my own performance, but knowing how my tutors see it really helps ground me.”
I tend to agree. The idea of Don Rags may seem like they would be stressful, and many people worry about hearing criticisms from their tutors, but they usually go better than expected, because students seem to be harder on themselves than the tutors are. As Elena Talamante, a sophomore here, so aptly put, “only you know how hard you’ve worked, or haven’t worked, and what happens in the classroom isn’t always reflective of your effort. Fear of a Don Rag is a recognition that you could do better, even if the tutors think you’re work is satisfactory.”