It’s finally happened…my daughter is officially a part of the school system…locked in until at least 2027 (if I did my quick math right and she doesn’t Doogie Howser it).
Although I’m so happy for her that she’ll finally be placed into a more direct learning environment, daily increasing her knowledge and world experience (even if that experience is gained from the same chair every day), I have to admit that I’m more than a little scared.
She’s bright…brilliant…super freakin’ smart. She already knows way more than I did going into kindergarten and shows no signs of stopping her meteoric rise to absolute genius.
School’s not made for geniuses, at least not your average school. My daughter, who currently has the drive to learn, wants to know everything about everything and is constantly asking WHY…is reaching that pivotal moment in which learning could finally become…well..a drag.
Bright students are problematic for teachers. How do you keep a kid engaged when they are already years ahead of the rest of their class? You could always give them busy work…or…you know, have them put their heads on their desk…the two things I remembered getting most often. There are, obviously a whole host of other things that can be done, which typically amount to a form of independent study. Of course, all these things really do for the bright student is further separate them from the herd, not only mentally, but directly. It’s hard for a bright student to be seen as an equal, and therefore can easily become outcasts as well…
These are the things I fret about as my daughter starts her first day of kindergarten…a learning experience that, for me, seemed to mostly involve shape and letter and color identification. She’s on the verge of all-out-reading, folks…shapes letters and colors are already well within her wheelhouse.
Sure, there’s the social aspect…learning to take directions, learning how to interact with diverse groups of people, learning to listen and communicate effectively and…yeah…
I’m worried. Worried that learning will become boring. A lot of this comes down to the teacher, obviously. A good teacher should be able to keep a kid engaged, but even a good teacher has their limits, especially in today’s educational environment.
I fear upcoming days of my daughter coming home tired and defeated, not because school is too hard for her, but because it’s too easy, because she doesn’t feel like she fits in, because she’s being defined by her peers as different.
I hope this isn’t the case, and I’m well aware that these are the standard fears of probably more worry-wort style parents. But I know what it’s like to be different…I know what it’s like to be on the outside. My personal reaction was to play stupid, which severely cut back on my education as I got older.
As a parent, I know there are many things I can do to help ease this transition, things I can help her learn, ways I can teach her to cope with whatever issues might come into play as she moves onto this next part of her life. I’ll do them as best I can.
But I also know that there’s an even larger part to this fear of my daughter going off to her first day of school…she’s officially growing up, moving further away from nightly snuggles, frequent hugs, and open displays of affection with her father. She’s becoming even more independent than she already is (I still take issue with the fact that she goes to the restroom all by herself, without me needing to accompany her and hold the door closed).
Sure…she’s still the same girl she was yesterday, but, well, how much longer will that last? How much longer will I be Daddy, instead of Dad, or, you know, that jerk who just grounded me and won’t let me go to that party tonight?
Oh…yeah…sorry…got carried away with myself…Fathering can be quite a tense time when you suddenly become aware that it’s not always going to be the same. When you realize that your daughter will someday become a woman, and that at some point in there, for an indeterminable amount of time, she may not want to even talk to you or look at you, or be aware that you even exist, much less wrap her arms around you and threaten to never let go.
But for now I’ve got a little girl…ahem…big girl, who still likes to sit on my lap and watch cartoons, who is greatly excited about finishing the book we’re working on together before Christmas, and will spend countless hours just talking to me about all the things she’s learned about from the world…even if it is just describing fully all of the commercials and the products therein that she might have seen while at daycare that day. Oh…yeah…we only watch Netflix at home, not much for kid’s broadcast/cable television. She just recently became aware of the glorious commercialism that is kid’s TV.
She’s all growed up 😥
Guess I had better get working on that college fund.
Have fun out there!