I’ve been home this summer…working on my doctorate and avoiding daytime television. This morning, however, I decided to watch “The Price is Right.” It seemed to go so well with my immediate tasks of folding and ironing laundry. I was struck by the fact that after every bid from the folks in contestants’ row, Drew Carey would repeat the bid and exclaim, “Good luck!” I guess what he meant to say was, “I sincerely hope that your estimation of the monetary retail value of the described item is more accurate than the estimation from your three competitors,” but “good luck” is much more succinct.
I was reminded of the four days my husband and I spent in Atlantic City over July 4th. I play roulette. I’m not sure why – it’s easy, fun – and pays 35 to 1. After all the bets were on the table, the dealer would say “Good Luck”! I was hoping for luck because that’s the only way that little ball would happen to land on one of the numbers on which I chose to put my chips. Luck has an element of chance or fortune attached to it… something uncontrollable…
Then why do we tell our students “Good Luck” on their tests? Over the years I have made it a habit to say, “Do your best!” “Remember everything you studied!” “Take your time!” “You’ve got this!” or “I have confidence in you!” but never “Good Luck.” During our standardized tests at school this past spring, whoever happened to make the announcements that morning always said, “Good luck on your tests today!” and it always just grated on me. If our students are well prepared and confident in their knowledge and skills, they do not need an element of chance and fortune while taking the exam. I understand that the statement was made with the very best intentions, but if our students need luck, they aren’t prepared, and we haven’t done our jobs.
Fellow educators, have a great school year! No luck needed!