It Shouldn’t Take a Nine-Year-Old

What She Wore: Coral/Pinkish shirt with cap sleeves and embroidery; my favorite levis; my new white shoes that I bought on Friday.  Gotta hurry up and wear them before the season ends.

I had a great week learning new things, but as teachers get together we also share stories.  I got to chatting with a man who’s a testing specialist for his district.  Basically, he works with kids in his district who have failed the state test–kids who seem capable, but for some reason were unable to be successful. 


I shared my enthusiasm for this type of work.  I’m a testing nerd–I analyze the tests for trends, evaluate the skills needed to solve, I see where our kids are failing.  I love trying to break down a seemingly impossible task.


The guy smiled and then told me a story.  His daughter just finished the third grade.  Earlier this year she came home from school and wanted to talk with her father.  He described his daughter as very thoughtful.  She wanted to talk about the BIG test–it was the first year that she would have to take it.  That day at school the teacher had told her class that everyone had to be able to read to pass the test, and some of the kids began to cry in their seats.  Not all of the students were comfortable readers yet.  I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to be a third grade teacher, and have to prepare these kids for this. 


The third grader told her father School shouldn’t make kids cry


I couldn’t agree more.




For years we had what was called a reading level.  This was the AVERAGE ability level of children in a certain grade.  That meant that around half were below and around half were above–that is why it was called an AVERAGE.  Now we want all kids to read ON grade level.  Does that make sense to you? 




PS: I don’t know how I forgot this–I’m going camping!  I’ll be back Tues. 



About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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21 Responses to It Shouldn’t Take a Nine-Year-Old

  1. Nooner™ says:

    Hi KM,
    This makes me tear up. I\’m such a male sap. But the third grader telling her father that just moistens my eyes all up.
    It does not make sense to "require" them to read on "average ability" level. Sounds heartless.
    I\’m sitting in my office on a very quiet Sunday afternoon. My brother of 45 years with Down Syndrome is sitting nearby at a desk, keeping me company and playing with a deck of cards. All I can think of at this second is God Bless all the special education teachers and people devoted to the field of helping needy young folks for helping them achieve their potential. What more can we expect from youth and special needs then to challenge them to do their best? Commend them for what they have been able to achieve. Encourage them to achieve more. Train the educators who mistakenly say items as insensitive as what this third grade teacher said to his class.

  2. Tracy says:

    Hope you have fun camping!!
    I agree on the school thing —  I can remember I hated how in elementary school they would split us up into below-average, average, and above-average groups, and heck I was usually in the above-average but I still hated it! 

  3. Sheryl-Ann says:

    How insightful that little third grader is!  School really shouldn\’t make one cry but I have to admit that even at my level, it sometimes make me cry.  It must be harder for some of these third graders and I wish the \’experts\’ would find another way, rather than this seemingly torturous way.
    Enjoy your camping trip!  Stay cool.

  4. CJ says:

    Kids learn at such very different rates it doesn\’t stand to reason we would expect them all to be at the same level.  Some time back I was a volunteer Teachers assistant for the special education classes and loved being able to work with the students in a more one-on-one environment.  I think it was a win, win situation all the way around and the students improved dramatically.  There is no norm that is going to work for one and all and it\’s simply assinine to assume that there could be.  Just my thoughts though.  Hope you enjoy your camping trip….I\’m counting the days til I\’m able to get out and about so I can go on one.  Keeping my fingers crossed it\’s before winter! 

  5. Sue says:

    Awesome…  camping.  You just go have the time of your life with that.  LOL.  I\’m not a fan since that was the sum of all family vacations since I was five years old. 
    I\’ve had a problem with that concept also.  Also with the teachers that pass students (specifically my daughter) onto another grade or putting them on the honor roll just to make them look good.  One teacher in particular I fought with the entire year.  I would bring DQ\’s work in and ask her to explain how she could have possibly received an "A" for the work when it clearly was not.  She brushed me off.  In fifth grade, DQ made the honor roll for the one and only time and she her work was that of a third or fourth grader.  I was furious.  I wanted something done or DQ held back or SOMETHING!  I was given the heave ho, so… that is when I pulled my kids out of school and home schooled for a few years.  DQ actually one year.  She was so far behind I spent the time trying desperately to get her caught up.  Blondie was second grade and bored so she was more of a teacher\’s aid.  She would go around and help the teacher and other students all day.  WTF????   But later when Blondie went back into the system in fifth grade, things had changed and it was a different school.  Blondie had some of the best teachers I have ever known.  Got lucky with her I guess. 
    Sheesh.  I\’ll shut up now!   Have a great trip.
    : ) Sue

  6. Cheryl says:

    Yep…I had a very upset 3rd grader last year…You are a good teacher….I am glad.  Will be sending 9 over to you…she is very sweet and you will take to her right away.  BTW what shoes are you wearing camping?

  7. Elizabeth says:

    "The third grader told her father School shouldn\’t make kids cry."
    That damn near made ME cry. So true.

  8. Karen says:

    That little girl is very insightful.  I am so nervous about my daughter starting school!
    Hope you have a great trip 🙂

  9. J says:

    Hi KM:)
    The girl is so very right…..but unfortunatly school  can do just that… middle daughter is "special needs" she has a non-verbal learning disorder and has difficulty processing information that she takes in…abstract concepts are more than just a challenge for her & some years are more then just a struggle for her….this past year for her was a good year…her special-ed teacher was wonderful and cared very much about my daughter and for her success….I was very grateful for her…but over the years we have had to push to get her the special help that she has needed ~ the school just looking to pass her along each year just to keep her going….her 4th grade teacher kept every week kept moving the kids seats…very disruptive for my daughter & the teacher kept putter her in the back of the room…said it was because my daughter said she could see the board from any seat ~ which was true ~ however not being in the front allowed for every distraction imaginable in the classroom for my daughter & kept her from being on task….I wrote note after note…please do not move her from the front…finally I had to involve the principal & guidence & have it written in her IEP so it would not happen again….how simple would it have been for the teacher just to honor my request and keep her in the front…where she could focus on what was being said instead of everything else that may have gone on in the room……very frustrating…not just for me but for my daughter as well…
    This fall she begins high school & although I have already met w/ the guidence counselor and special-ed teacher & feel they have a grasp for what it is that she needs…it still makes me nervous for how the other teachers she will encounter will treat her & challenge her to do her best…..
    my daughter is a very hard worker and tries her best sometimes the magnitude of it all just gets to be too much for her and there are days she just does not want to go…it can be heartbreaking……it is difficult to know just what is the right thing to do all of the time…..
    thanks for sharing your story….I seem to have gone on & on here…but your story certainly hit home for me….keep doing the great job that you are….hope your camping was fun & not too hot like it is here!!!!!

  10. Unknown says:

    Have fun camping!
    The little girl is right, school should not make kids cry. Its kids like the ones who cried that get up into high school and then drop out. Its sad that the school system seems to let these kids fall through the cracks. Its worse that a child recognizes the problem in third grade and as adults we seem to dismiss it.

  11. Jo says:

    First, coming from a 9 year old, that really means something. That\’s pretty insightful, and soooo very simple. Maybe "we" adults need to step back and look at these kids and what they feel. Some children are blessed with caring teachers, others are not.
    Secondly, the little boy, it is a hard thing and sometimes makes your self esteem dwindle. I started noticing the problem in 8th grade, when I was in High school my M&D brought me to the dermotologist, I used to get shots of (cortizone?) in my head. I DO NOT recommed this for a little punkin but I do know there\’s some type of cream that they can try on the spots if the parent is up for it.
    Thanks for the encouraging words! Hope your having fun camping!!!!!!

  12. Unknown says:

    have fun camping. Whatever will she wear camping?

  13. Nadine says:

      I think that teachers should be more tactful and not put so much stress on the kids to take "Big Test". Yes, they are important but some kids just freak and do not test well…..Edith Anne is such child. She is a very good student and was selected for the gifted and talented program but failed the test miserably! "Oh Mom! Now I will never get into a good school!" She cried hysterically all the while waving a note from her english teacher that she was maintaining a 98 average and was very proud to have her in her class!
    Have a great time campin\’!

  14. David says:

    Camping??? I\’m jealous!!!

    Let me know when you get back, I\’ll want to hear all about it!!!

    -David //BootJockey

  15. Laura says:

    Too cute… out of the mouths of babes, right?!?
    Have fun camping… don\’t forget the bug spray and insect bite stuff that helps you when the bug spray doesn\’t work… hmm… Oh, and bring plenty of TP!!!  🙂

  16. Unknown says:

    Awwwwww what a sweet little girl!
    Camping??? Oh, the horror!!!!
    Hope you\’re having fun! 
    God bless : )

  17. siobhan says:

    I am so torn about sending Conor to school.  My friend homeschools her kids.  ( she has three school age and one Conor\’s)  plus she bakes her own bread and makes beautiful quilts.  She made one for Conor when he was born and she ahd 4 children and one of them a newborn.  Kind of makes you nauseous Huh??  I love her.
    Have fun camping!!  We usually go in October to Zion National Park

  18. Stacy says:

    I look so forward to your page every day.  I love the shoes – what size do you wear, I might have to come raid your closet sometime…..LOL.  You need to take a picture of your shoe closet and post it for all of us whose husbands think we have too many shoes.  I am sure he would lay off of me for a while. 🙂   Hope you had a great day at camp.

  19. Unknown says:

    Hey sugar butt…man it\’s hard to blog!!! I have no freaking time! The plans are shaping up though, thank goodness.
    Why did you throw-up? Are you? Yanno…pregmo?
    I miss ya!

  20. Gracia says:

    What a bright girl.
    I cried too many times in school. But I dont want to relay that here.
    Have  a great time camping!!

  21. Josh says:

    I agree that the requirements from school shouldn\’t put children in such an uncomfortable position. But alot of people put our educators in an awkward position because of an unbalanced attitude toward school. I\’m not saying this is true for everyone, but some people today are forgetting the fact that there should also be some degree of educating done in the home. Parents can play a huge role in helping their children to develop essential skills by taking an active role in their education. Who knows a child better than their father or mother? Just because a mom or a dad isn\’t a teacher doesn\’t mean they can\’t teach their child something new every day (or at least on a regular basis)…practice reading, play a game that challenges their mind or abilities, or just have a chat about anything.
    I don\’t have kids of my own, but I\’d like to think that this is something I would put into practice if I did.
    That being said…our schools should always be focused on giving the best personal education they can to their pupils. If they are merely training kids how to pass this exam or that test, then a success would only be passing the test, not learning something valuable.

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