You can't be good at anything until you commit to being better. There is always a degree of better in every good. The danger of good, however, is settling; thinking that good was the end.
Good is a pat on the head. It is recognition of commitment to better. Good is a benchmark to show that you that better is working. You are now in a new category. No longer a beginner; you are now good.
Good is not a goal. Good is a reward. It allows your work to find a new audience. Good raises the expectations of those you seek to influence.
Best is another reward. It is recognition that, for a brief moment in time, nobody else could equal the quality of your work. Of course, best is relative. The best project in seventh grade history is not necessarily the best history project in the world.
Best, in many ways, is hyper-good. Therefore, it, too, requires better.
We all want our efforts recognized. Mastery motivates and usually requires some recognition of skill from someone other than ourselves to evaluate growth. In many ways, that is the role of the teacher; to be the one person in a position to answer, "Is this student growing as a learner in this class?"
Good and best are not wrong. They are not bad. They are simply misplaced. Learning is growth. Education is change. Good and best are moments in time. Once they occur, they will always be in that moment. The Baltimore Ravens are not the best NFL team ever. They were simply the best at the end of the 2012-2013 season. I have no idea if the student who had the best grade in my 6th grade English class is a writer. She probably is not; and if she is, she is less likely to be the best writer, which gets extremely hard to determine as the audience widens. Best and good only honor the result.
Better, on the other hand, honors effort. When you commit to growth and the effort needed to sustain growth, the rewards of good (and maybe best) will come. This is not easy. As you grow, the effort needed to sustain growth increases. Like working out, as you get stronger you need to use heavier weight to continue to grow in strength.
Here's to hoping your 2013-2014 school year is not just good (or even our best), but better.