Monday, November 23, 2009

Her First Report Card

**** = Super
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Unsatisfactory

When I got home from work the other night, Adinah was breathlessly pressing it into my hands before I could sit down. 'Look what I got today in school--it shows all these things about me.' My German being what it is, it took me a few extra moments to realize that these were her first grades.

The biggest surprise was that her teacher did not rate Adinah ****Super in every category. The second biggest surprise was the way that this hurt my feelings, and troubled me.

After dinner, Adinah and I looked at it more carefully. Her teacher, Daniela, had given her a number of **Fair marks, but the one I was most certain I understood was next to the sentence, "I listen to teacher and her instructions." After a few minutes of review, Adinah shrugged and said, "I'm just not so good at school."

* * *

I guess (almost) every parent thinks their kid is the most amazing person who ever lived. Besides their other kids. But it's different in our case: our kids really are the most amazing people ever. And I've never thought of Adinah as anything less than super-smart, socially adept and kind.

So it's a little weird that someone who's known her for less than three months is now telling us who she is and what she cannot do. It's even weirder that I have, over the last few days, caught myself taking Teacher's word for it, thinking, 'Maybe Deanie has some sort of problem?'

What the fuck is that?

But most troubling of all is that Deanie herself seems to so casually accept what Teacher says, seems to think that this must mean that's she's sub-par.

Or not. Maybe he kid's breezy attitude means that as a person, she's learning to accept the idea that she can't do Everything.

But is that a lesson she needs to be taught with a few sad stars at the age of six?!


Noel said...

Hey Pat,

Her grades don't mean squat...for the most part. There are plenty of children in this world who are more gifted, talented and intelligent than you or I or anyone we know, who likewise don't "do well" in school, especially at young ages in structured learning environments. Albert Einstein was famously one such as this. My 11 year-old son Grant is similar...he has more than enough academic brainpower to do the actual work...he just lacks the maturity and organizational skills to keep track of when things are due, homework assignments...things like that. He loses papers all the time...and then finds them again, the day after they were due!

So don't be alarmed at your daughters' less-than-stellar first report really means very little at this point.

pat said...

Hey Noel, thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I didn't know you had a son--Congratulations (about 11 years late!)
Yeah, you're prolly right, it just caught me off guard. Deanie herself seems relatively unphased. Also, my wife ran into the mother of one of Deanie's newer school friends, and she said her kid was just really psyched that he got two "Excellent" marks and then the rest "Fair." We were just the opposite (oops.)
I guess that as a parent, there's a fine line between being proud (or protective) of your kid, and being too concerned about what your kid may or may not reflect about you.
I just don't want to be that psycho hockey team parent who's swarming the coach because she doesn't let my daughter play in the game long enough.....
Nice to hear from you, and I owe you a call. Can you Facebook me with your phone number?

Anonymous said...

The other thing that can be hard to understand is that kids really are different at school than they are at home (not saying your kid is misbehaving at school or anything, I have no idea).

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