I like to start the first day of school with this poem as I explain my expectations to my class. I expect more than just pretty good. I expect every student to do his or her best on every assignment and project done in my classroom. By striving to do our best (even when my best may look totally different from my neighbor's best) we are rewarded through a feeling of accomplishment that comes along with the effort we put into our task. We will be rewarded in the future when surrounded by others who were able to get away with "pretty good".
I hope you find it as inspirational as I did when I first read it!
By Charles Osgood
There once was a pretty good student,
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher,
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn't terrific at reading,
He wasn't a whiz-bang at math;
But for him education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn't find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
And nobody taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
Five plus five needn't always add up to be ten,
A pretty good answer was nine.
The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception,
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to
Was in a pretty good town.
And nobody seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaky suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state,
Which had pretty good aspirations,
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation,
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.