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I'm Not a Good 4th Grader

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Not a Good 4th Grader

I should be a lot better at this than I am. I already went through it with Nico. I taught a semester of 5th grade so 4th should be a piece of cake. I remember my 4th grade teacher. Mrs. Arnold. She was an okay enough teacher. I think she was funny but she did this weird thing when she got mad. Her eyes bugged out. (I wonder if when I am yelling at my kids, if my eyes do that. Hmmm...I'll have to ask them.) Anyway, my point is that I didn't really like 4th grade the first time I went through it, I really hated it the second time (with Nico) and now, here I am again and I should be better at it but am not. Actually, I am liking it even less than when Nico was there.

I dislike book reports, reading logs, summaries, and the God...the states. All of this times two. Tommy, I think, has a photographic memory so memorizing where the states go isn't that hard for him but reading and finishing a book and then writing the summary for it is. He writes the summary with as little information as possible under the umbrella of "I don't want to ruin it for my teacher." Isabella's summaries are a novel and she gets very angry when someone (read: me or Tommy) tries to tell her that summaries are supposed to be a "glimpse" of the book and not the whole story. She does not have a photographic memory. She has to work really hard at memorizing the states and when she makes a mistake, she melts down about how she is going to fail (she has yet to fail any test that she has ever taken so my patience level for that meltdown is at 0). They've had a lot of time to learn these and work on these summaries but of course, now that they are due this week and the test is this week (Why? Why? Why in the same week?), everyone is in a panic. It's not that they haven't studied from the beginning. I had them work with each other. BIG MISTAKE. It always ended up in some form of violence (Belle towards Tommy and not all that undeserving). God forbid I ever work on it with one and not the other. There is a therapist's couch out there that someday one of them will be sitting on saying, "My mom loved him/her better because she helped more with the states and summaries." I could sound really organized and say that I set aside time to work with each of them so there is equal time but that would be a lie. In this house, we work on it in bits when there is time...we grab them when we can.

I know it is 4th grade and in the grand scheme of things, no one cares what grade you got on a test over the Central States or a book summary but when you are in the midst of it and it is their whole world, they care a lot. So much so that I feel like I am right back there. I have to say, I don't think Mrs. Arnold would be very proud of what I have remembered from her class. I know it is good to have common knowledge but do we really need to know the capitals of the states? I'm pretty sure that information is tucked away in my brain in the file: Things I forgot immediately after I was tested on it. It is right next to Algebra and the Periodic Table of Elements.


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