Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why I have never been nor will I ever be a teacher

Mina's in first grade now.

For the most part, she loves it. Occasionally she comes home with "mean girl" tales (it's starts in kindergarten people, and it sucks ASS), but she's chugging along nonetheless.

Almost every night she has homework. We have a nice little routine going where she'll have a snack at the table and work on whatever her teacher sent home that day.

After seeing what she's supposed to do I tell her to work on it and I'll check it when she's done.

And herein lies the problem.

When I was pregnant with her, my first child, people would ask me what I was having. When I told them the baby was a girl some people would get all giddy and squishy about it.

"Oh, maybe she'll have red hair like you!"
"I bet you can't wait to do her hair all pretty!"
"I LOVE buying girl clothes--all that pink!"

And OK, maybe those things did cross my mind, but the thing I wanted most for my baby girl was for her to be smart.

I remember a conversation with a friend of mine during my pregnancy. When the words "Dougie Howser, MD" passed my lips, you would have thought I wished for my baby to be born with a tail (P.S. That thought also crossed my mind).

"But why would you want her to be a freak?!"

So maybe being a doctor at ten wasn't ever going to be in the cards (damn you Neil Patrick Harris or setting the bar so high), but was it too much to hope she would have a head up in the academic world?

I'm not saying Mina isn't bright. She's an amazing artist and comes up with fantastic stories which she illustrates herself. Socially, she's a firecracker and can make friends in an instant. She's the kid at the playground who'll have eight other kids playing underwater mermaid ninja adventure ten minutes after we get there.

The schoolwork however is another story.

I try to help her correct her homework, but the whole ordeal leaves me wanting to poke my eyes out with a No. 2 pencil. I get so frustrated. Didn't she JUST learn this at school? Didn't her teacher come up with some cute fancy way to help them remember how to make 17 cents a few different ways? Didn't we just read that same word a page ago?

It's like she's guessing most of the time or waiting to guess what I want her to say. She doesn't take her time and think it through. The "17 cents" homework sent me into fits. It's COUNTING for chrissake. I know very well she can count and add and what the different coins are worth.

I try to keep my utter lack of patience on the down low. I'm sure I'm not doing a very good job.

Thankfully Jim has much more patience than I and can come up with those cute fancy ways teachers have of helping students remember things.

I know I probably set an unreasonable set of expectations Mina's shoulders. Not all kids are going to "get" everything the first few times they are taught something. It doesn't help that she gets mad at herself (and wants to either give up or not try something at all) if she isn't good at it. My poor little Type A child.

I did that to her. It's OK. I can admit that. I didn't mean to, but it happened and now all I can do is try to fix it...

By letting her father help her with her homework for awhile.


SkylersDad said...

I am sure that she will get it, sometimes it just takes the repetition to make it stick. And no harm in letting dad take care of that, we all share around here at home.

And if she can't be a 10 year old doctor, maybe she can follow Neil Patrick Harris into his next role and be a "player"...

Earth Muffin said...

She'll catch on. First grade is a big adjustment. And it's perfectly ok for Daddy to be the go-to guy for homework. Every parent has limitations and it's great that you know what your's are and that you have an alternative to get you through this challenge. I'm sure there are things that you're the "go-to gal" for that Daddy doesn't have the patience for as well! (It seems like laundry and vacuuming are coming to mind...)

Bacon Lady said...

skylersdad: She's already been "in love" a couple of times. It's going to be nuts once she gets to high school.

EM: Thank you. It's good to hear these things from a bona fide educator. And I forgot to add the part where I think teachers are pretty much the coolest people on the planet.

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