all the kids

all the kids

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Testing, One Two Three

There's a girl in the class I'm subbing in. They had a test today, on the computer. Some kids wrote informational articles, opinion essays, and some had to write stories. She had to write a made up story about going to a cabin and what she saw outside the window when she woke up.

A made up story.

This is a kid who does everything perfectly in class. So perfect that she's serious about it, I'm not sure there's any joy in her perfection, this is her job and she is going to be first in line. She has a slight suspicion of me, that I'm a buffoon (she is right), and she's always managing her ship so tightly that I barely have to do anything for her, she's orbiting herself, on autopilot.

Then today I saw her not able to write very much on that test. Her brain was like on that icy lake in Frozen. She couldn't figure out how to write an imaginative thing. She sat for a long time, I guess consulting her arrested, clinical heart, and came up with a sort of scratching sound that didn't translate into the keyboard.

We all have these holes. Here is this high achiever, and she can't surprise herself with imagination. Okay, she's only 8, but come on, you're at a cabin and you wake up and look out the window and what do you see?

For me there is a giant snowdrift. There is a scary old man selling stale crackers. There is the Hindenburg in mid-explosion. Hot gas spewing directly at us. There is Jane Austen with a rhinoceros head and a beer. There is a tornado. There is the road to nowhere.

She did end up writing something that involved the words "first, next and finally," the way they're all trained to write. Of course, the template gave her security. I felt relief seeing the screeching halted edges of higher intelligence. Knowing that when she's running the hospital she will own someday, that there are things people are born able to do, and things that baffle us.

Even though in the emergency, she would be the one who knew all the procedures, I would still rather wake up in a cabin with a buffoon.
Have a tornado for tea.