My youngest daughter is a spirited child. She hates being told what to do. She is smart, but sitting still and focusing are hard for her, and she gives up easily. She is impulsive and quickly bored. She's tall for her age, so they seat her at the back (I will be talking to her teacher about this). Her notebooks are disorganized and she often doesn't write down or remember homework. She rarely finishes classwork--except math, which she loves. I've been a teacher, and I know this kind of kid from the other side; I worry.
A friend was recently telling me how he hated school as a child, and how useless he thought school was--a total waste of time. I know what he means, but I think he's wrong. I agree that schools have rote learning and spent teachers and that these things can be awful. But I don't think they are always awful. I think having lines of poetry committed to memory is a good thing (if it's Shakespeare, even better). Teachers can be lame, but this world is full of lame people, people who hate their lives and their jobs. I know it sounds perverse, but I think school is an introduction to the world and society and there is so much to learn there besides what you write in your notebook.
Of course I don't want my girl to learn that she is stupid or bad (and I know this can happen too). My third grade teacher told my mom that I was a poor student, and that I probably would never even graduate from high school. She was wrong, and foolish to make such a prediction about an eight year old and I hope my daughter never has a teacher as nasty as she was. But, that awful, past-her-expiration- date, teacher, taught me that adults can be wrong, and that they can be mean--this was incredibly important information for me and I've never forgotten it. Of course, I hope for excellent, caring teachers for my children; teachers who provide stimulating environments for learning. But I know something can be learned from even the worst teacher.
I sometimes worry about this messy, distracted kid. I hope she learns what is being taught in the classroom, and what isn't.