Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Child Is an Independent Thinker

My child is an independent thinker...For example, he knows better than to enjoy doing book reports.

So we got a little letter at the end of the school year letting us know that Silas had been selected for the GT program (I'm calling it GT because the gifted talented program makes me throw up a little in my mouth). This is great, and I'm proud of him, and hope that it will lead to exciting opportunities like being able to read classic children's books in the original and unabridged. Or maybe they do that in all classes now, I don't know. I'm glad, but I'm not really surprised--I mean, Si's smart and he likes school, so duh, obviously he's in the GT program. End of story. See you in the fall.
Exceppttt...they sent home with the letter a little questionnaire to collect "evidence of how you perceive your child's abilities and characteristics." We're supposed to supply examples from our child's own life. Which, reading through it, made me wonder if they'd sent the letter to the wrong parents. Because look at some of these characteristics and abilities:

"My child is a 'self-starter' who works well alone. (For example: After watching a film about musical instruments, Gary began to make his own guitar from materials he found around the garage)." [really? there are third-graders that DO this?]
"My child will spend more time and energy than his/her agemates on a topic of his/her interest. (For example: Joan is learning to sew and spends every free minute designing new dress patterns and trying to sew them herself.)"

Or my favorite:

"My child is a 'doer' who begins a project and shows finished products of his/her work. (For example: Mary began working on a puppet show four months ago, and has since built a stage and puppets and has written a script. Tomorrow she's presenting her play to the PTA!)"
I mean, these examples immediately make me a) insecure and b) confused (where ARE these children?), not to mention c) sarcastic ("My child is a finisher: he'd stay up til two a.m. every night trying to finish the next level of Mario Brothers II on the Wii if he could).

They also make me wonder if (/hope that) the questionnaire's designed to weed out pretentiousness. Because, seriously, "Tomorrow she's presenting her play to the PTA!" Since when did the PTA have puppet shows? I thought you only went to stuff like that in the service of investing in supporting your kid's activities, for Pete's sake.

Anyhow. I'm still glad. Just...wary.


Jess said...

There's gifted and talented, and then there's... how do I put this politely... anal retentive? Yeah.

artemisia said...

Um, that questionnare is RIDICULOUS. I would be snorting quite a bit while filling that sucker out.

Speaking of pretentious - I received the preview to my field's annual meeting panels and presentations. I circled the most pretentious, arrogant titles while reading them aloud to A. in a snarky voice.

So. Icky.

Swistle said...

AHA HA HA HA HA HA! I like our GT program better: they send home forms saying it's typical for GT kids to be underachievers, starters-but-not-finishers, and unmotivated to do anything they don't want to do. SCORE ON ALL FRONTS!

Erin said...


This is difficult to process, but here's another explanation that popped into my head: the questionaire was written by some young idealist grad student who THEORETICALLY likes kids but has spent almost NO actual time with kids and certainly has none of his/ her own.

Also, what is this world coming to if we allow our children to spend time on PUPPET SHOWS FOR THE PTA?