Tag Archives: New Jersey

Hidden Potential: Guest Post by Saucy B.

Saucy B

Do you wear reading glasses? If so, don’t forget to enter my reading glasses giveaway which ends December 16th. Details HERE.

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My guest blogger today sharing her teacher memory is Saucy B. She pretends to be tough — she lives in northern New Jersey and claims if you call her a Jersey Girl, she will kick you in the shins — but for all her attitude, Saucy B comes with an enormous side order or good old-fashioned mama love.

I can relate to Saucy B’s story on one hundred levels. When she wrote this post and discussed how she was described by family members as “precocious” but school was academically challenging for her, I totally got it.

@SaucyB is currently taking a break from her blog, but I hope she will drop by to moderate comments. Her post speaks to so many people who have children who are struggling with school.

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Hidden Potential

I was late bloomer when it came to academics. I was young for my grade; in fact, by today’s requirements, I wouldn’t have even been allowed to enter school when I did.

But, since I was rather precocious in nature – often described as being four going on forty by my relatives – my mother didn’t hesitate to enter me into kindergarten.

It’s not that I didn’t get good grades; it’s just that those good grades came as the result of a lot hard work, a little bit of sweat, and certainly a few tears.

I was in my comfort zone with reading and language arts. But math. Oh math. There’s a reason that when I entered college I was an English major with a minor in Communication. (Dear Rutgers University, thank you for dropping your quantitative requirement the year I entered your fine institution.)

Anyway, it was in fifth grade that students in my school system could be chosen to participate in a Gifted and Talented program that met on Saturday mornings called C.A.T. (I haven’t the slightest idea what that stands for anymore.)

While I recall being slightly disappointed that I didn’t get to participate in fifth grade, I wasn’t completely surprised either. I was doing well, but I certainly wasn’t pulling down straight A’s.

Things changed when I entered sixth grade and was in the class of the school’s only male teacher at the time, Mr. Adubato. This teacher really tried to bring new ideas and other ways of learning to the table. He recognized and encouraged my creative writing in a way that no one else had. And after the first marking period, he got me into the C.A.T. program.

I remember being so proud that as part of the program I got to “publish” my own book of short stories. In reality, my work had just been bound with a nice front and back cover by the school librarian. But, to me, it made me legit.

Today, I see my son, who is also young for his grade, struggling as well. Kindergarten was not an easy transition for him. He received basic skills help and was evaluated this summer by the school’s Child Study Team.

At the beginning of the year, I told his teacher, “There are no rose-colored glasses in this house.” And while I’m very much aware and recognize that my son has challenges, I also know that he is extremely bright and articulate. Collectively, we just have to figure out how to unlock the potential that I know is sitting poised and ready in his little body.

How am I so sure of this? Last weekend I had the privilege of transcribing a story that my son made up to go with a comic book he had drawn. He had numbered the pages, established heroes and villains, and formulated a plot with a distinct beginning, middle and end.

He just couldn’t write it.

Apparently, kids his age are supposed to be able to write some semblance of words based on how they sound. My guy isn’t even close to that yet. So we sat. And I told him the letters to write so that he could bring the story out of his imagination and onto the page.

I strongly suspect that things may get harder for my son before they get easier when it comes to his school work. But I hope he is fortunate enough to have a teacher that recognizes his unique capabilities the way Mr. Adubato recognized mine.

How much do you think a child’s age influences his or her academic performance? And what do you think about “gifted and talented” programs?

I Hit a Wall

Google Images

Okay, I admit it. I’m being a little lazy.

First off, the whole plagiarism thing has left me exhausted.

Second, I fell down an entire flight of cement stairs, hit my head really hard, and I think I actually suffered a slight concussion. I’m okay now, but I don’t want to do that again. Picture me in my sassy, short skirt and tall boots with black stockings. I’m looking very professional and confident and competent when, suddenly, I miss a step and am rolling head over heels down down down about 12 steps where I proceed to slam into the wall (somehow) face-first.

Amazingly, I never let go of my unattractive wheelie bag that holds all my papers and my grade book. I hit my head really hard, and I think I actually suffered a slight concussion. I’m okay now. (What do you mean I am repeating myself?) Plus the plagiarism stuff has left me exhausted. (Did I say that already? I think I might have said that.)

Third, this brilliant blog entry was written by a former student of mine, Zach Sparer. His content is made to be inserted in a place where education and parenting collide, so I can’t not post it. (Was that a double negative? It was. It was a double negative. I’m really sorry. I hit my head earlier this week.) I mean, I have to post-it. Wait, not like Post-It, the company. I have to post it, without the hyphen.

Wow, so this is what happens when I hit a wall.

What I mean to say is that Zach’s stuff is good. Like I-wish-I-had-written-it-good. And this is the place where education and parenthood collide, right? (At least, that’s what is says up there at the top of the page.)

California and New Jersey are currently considering putting ads on school buses. So now I’m wondering: what is this Minneapolis school district thinking? You should click on this link and read the article now. (I know I usually summarize things more clearly, but I hit my head earlier this week, and I think I have a slight concussion, so I just feel like you should read the source material yourselves because there are a lot of big numbers in it.)

We all know times are tough, and schools are having to get creative about how they generate revenue to support certain programs. If they don’t get the dollars, they may have to cut valuable programs. But do we really want to turn locker space into advertising space? Will savvy advertisers start using students’ Facebook information to target individual locker users? You know personalized ads bombarding kids with images from their favorite stores, their favorite eateries, and coffee shops? Oh, and when the students start drawing all over the walls, that Minneapolis superintendent better not whine about it because nothing says, “Go ahead and write on the lockers, kids!” quite like these graffiti-ed up lockers. (Graffiti-ed?I just turned a noun into a verb. Yikes.)

Did I mention that I hit my head?