Thursday, September 07, 2006

Stupid is as Stupid does...

Twice recently, I've heard young boys refer to themselves as "stupid".

One was my friend's son, Devil Child W, who spent the night here a couple of weeks ago. He and Z-boy were doing something and DCW just couldn't quite get it. He looked up at me and said, "Miss Sayre... I'm just not smart." Five years old. Already feels like he's being left behind. Of course, DCW is smart. He's much like his father. It isn't always obvious, but he's watching and learning from everything. And occasionally he will STUN you with what he does know. He is also hanging out with much older kids and trying to keep up with them intellectually and physically. At best, he's two years younger than Z-boy. At worst, he's three years younger than his older sister. And incredibly, he is equal company for both. He just falls a little short sometimes.

The second was my cousin's son. He's entering puberty and having a bit of a rough go. She says all he wants to do is wear only underwear and act sullen. Oh, and play soccer. His grades aren't so hot and he actually has a remedial class, which makes him feel stupid. Thing is, he's not. He's in the remedial class because of his grades, which include homework. He does his homework, but he doesn't hand it in. So he gets counted off and it reflects in his grade. Now he's in a remedial class, bored out of his mind, not handing in his work and possibly flunking that class as well! His mother doesn't understand why he doesn't hand in his homework and he can't explain it.

So what gives? Boys have always been the stars of the classrooms (at least in my day). They're not as shy, they know their stuff. Girls could read and write, but boys could do math and THINK! Could it be that all the emphasis on empowering girls has had a backlash on boys? Do they feel they are not as special because they don't have the same attentions as the girls do?

Both of these kids are smart. Very smart. They even do their work. But they don't hand it in. What's up with that? And beccause they don't hand it in, the teachers don't see it. The grades suffer. And people think they are stupid. It's a vicious circle. How do you get smart people to do the smart thing?

I'm sure I will have more to say on this tomorrow. I have a conference with Z-boy's teacher in the morning and tonight discovered a couple of disturbing things while at a school workshop. I must mull things over a bit and talk to her tomorrow. More later.


quinn said...

Hi, wow I can comment..and I see I have missed a few posts...
I have two boys now 13 and 15..both totally went through the doing their homework and then not handing it in.
And both my hubby and I could not for the life of us figure this one out. We never really got a good reason for it but we have gone through it with both boys.

I say what the heck is the point of doing it and on time and then not handing it in so you lose marks for either being late or not getting it in at all..???

If you find out the answer I would like to hear it.

still working on my blog..I switched over to this beta blogger...I think I am getting there..but I have lots of blogs to catch up on seems on some I have missed 3 or 4 days of postings.

Janet said...

In my (teaching) experience, a lot of smart kids, boys especially, think it's better off not to come off as smart as they are. I had a kid in my class last year who did this because he wasn't getting attention in other areas of his life so it effected his self esteem. He began this downward spiral of a self fulfilling prophecy, hoping he wouldn't amount to much bc it was easier than if he actually did.

I called his bluff and recommended him to the Gifted & Talented program this year. He may not always do his homework and his behavior is far from exemplary, but I'm hoping that if someone shows they believe in him now it will make a difference later on.

The jury is still out.

Anonymous said...

Really? I think you should look back at the Rogers Family experience when it comes to classroom and homework. Remember that I also started in remedial classes at Hartsfield because I had a weird lisp and had to go to speech classes. These things have a way of working themselves out if they are supposed to.

Anonymous said...

Oh, BTW, it's John. This thing still won't accept my log-in.

Maybe I am stupid...

Anonymous said...

I am not exactly sure what is happening in your world right now. Just remember to stay in touch with the teacher because they really appreciate an interested parent even as the kid ages. And to talk to the boy for his side of the situation and allow for some interpretation and discussion on your part.

I found that giving verbal reminders before leaving on the bus seem to help most of the time.

And there is the random teacher who is truely a world unto herself that will blame the child for you coming in to see her.