Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Too Hip for the Room

Both my younguns applied and were accepted to be on their school's Academic Teams recently. These are extracurricular activities for kids deigned "bright" by their teachers. The teams compete against other schools in the area, answering questions on general knowledge and specific fields in a game show-like setting sponsored by a nearby school in December. Both are pretty excited about it, and I admit, I am too. Geekiness rates more than sports ability in our household.

Anyway, until the big day in December, the teams are meeting twice a week after school to practice. They run through questions, get used to hitting their buzzer quickly (it is a game-show format afterall) and all that general prep that would go into such a competition of brain power.
Yesterday my eldest had her first practice and came home with some amusing news-and I'm not too sure how to take it.

The teacher/coach told her to stop answering EVERY question!

"Mom, it was kinda funny." she explained. " About 30 minutes into our practice I had racked up about 135 points. I was getting every answer right and I was the quickest to hit my buzzer; well, most of the time anyway. Finally Mrs._______ told me to stop answering because it wasn't fair to the other kids!"

"Well, did anyone else get any answers right?"

"Oh yeah, a couple of the kids had like, 10 or 8 points."

I had to laugh a little bit. I had seen some of the practice questions and word problems beforehand and even I had to pause for a moment to formulate an answer in my head...and even then there was some uncertainty as to whether they were right or not. But that I attribute simply to age, y'know the saying-If you don't use it, you lose it?
Anyway, I just don't know how to react to this. On one hand I can understand the coach's feelings, it's not good to be a show-off and since it's a team effort it's only fair to allow the others to have a chance. But on the other hand, dangit, if the kid's bright and quick-let her shine! It bugs me that she was, in essence, asked to dumb down or hold back for the sake of the others.

I would think that her initial tromping would be the incentive for the others to get with it and try harder. I mean they all too were selected by their teachers for showing brilliance and intellect.
But, then again, it IS public school. It's all relative. Maybe my kids are just the one eyed kings in the land of blind.
Private school kids just might stomp their butts royally in a similar competition.


Blogger OldSailor88 said...

I say, let her slaughter them! I have a 4 year old with a freaky big brain, and her teachers are telling her the same thing. I tell her to go for it. If you know it show it. She's 4 and she's learning to write cursive, doing math, and memorizing everything she can. She knows the first verse of "Anchors Aweigh" bless her soul. Be proud of your girl. Just explain to her not to show off with it. Being brilliant and humble is a fine combination.
The Old Sailor.

10/20/2007 6:09 AM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

Heh! Nice advice, Oldsailor. Sounds like my kid at that age! Funny thing is, we didn't do anything super special to make her like that. Frankly, I feel that most times I'm as dumb as a bag of hammers but I just treated her like a person and encouraged her whenever she showed an interest in anything...even if it seemed "over her head" for her age.
At 5 she was telling everyone she wanted to be a paleontologist- and could spell it, too!

10/22/2007 8:24 AM  

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