Wednesday, October 18, 2006

First Grade Frustration

When I was in first grade, there was some debate over how my brain worked. (Of course, there’s still that debate now, twenty-plus years later, but for different reasons!)

Back in the day, our Catholic school did its own kind of testing to determine what level of classes students should be in. I remember taking one that was supposedly designed to measure level of intelligence and would determine if I should be in regular classes or smarty-pants classes the next year. For one of the sections, there were a couple of red flags that my teacher was concerned about. I had done well overall, but she was worried about the section I had completed on reasoning skills. While it didn’t make sense to me then, I get a huge laugh out of it now.

On this particular section of the test, the teacher would read the question out loud, and the students, who had answer sheets in front of them, had to circle the correct answer, which was in the form of a picture.

One of the questions was something like, “Which item should a child not wear?” There was a picture of a shirt, shoes, a lamp and a watch. I circled the watch.

One of the other questions was on the order of, “How does a squirrel get into a tree?” There were pictures of a tree—one showed the bottom of the tree, one showed the middle, and one showed the top. I circled the middle of the tree.

Ms. Salek wasn’t sure what to make of it, so there was a conference with me and my mom. The outcome? I remember trying to explain that I knew a child can’t wear a lamp. Hello?! Isn’t there a certain “duh” factor with that? You have to wait until you can visit Fred Flintstone, who had too much to drink at the Water Buffalo Lodge, before you can put a lampshade on your head! And my mom kept telling me I was too young for a watch. Made sense to me! A child shouldn’t wear a watch.

And as for the tree…well, we lived in a two-flat in Chicago on the first floor. When I would look out the living room window, I saw the middle of the large poplar tree in the front yard. The squirrels would jump onto the window ledge from the middle of the tree to eat the bird food my dad put out, and then they would jump back into the middle of the tree. Made sense to me, but it dumbfounded my teacher.

The good news is that they determined I wasn’t cognitively deficient. The bad news is that just for fun, I may let my child put a lampshade on her head, but not let her wear a watch.


Anonymous said...

I remember those squirrels! And the one that broke into the house, too!


Catherine said...

hahaha, I remember Robin making fun of you all Christmas (Christmas before he was brother-in-law, or Christmas right after?) about the lampshade and the watch.

You slapped him with your leather glove. hahaha...