I thought over the next few weeks, I would reflect back upon my own experiences in school. Today I am going to share with you a moment in my school path that if it had gone differently, my time in school may have been a lot different.
My third grade and fourth grade classes were grouped homogenous. This grouping was supposed to be secret from the children but unfortunately it could not have been more obvious. At the start of the hall in classroom A, you had the very high achieving kids with the lowest of the low achieving kids (in this case to be high achieving meant that you were bright in math and literacy). The thought was that the “super high kids” would help the “super low kids”. The next classroom down the hall had the high children with the medium low children. The third class contained the above average kids and the just below average children and the fourth room was all average children. And yes it was very obvious.
I was placed in classroom A and was definitely on the lower end of the “super high achieving kids”. I lacked confidence and self-esteem which may have been a factor but honestly I just think I was not quite as “smart” as the other kids. My parents were called in to a parent-teacher conference and my teacher suggested that I be moved down a level into the classroom next door. Apparently I had done really well with the alphabetical order part of the reading test but I was lacking in some other areas. My parents knew what a move like this would do to me (I have never liked change) and suggested that we wait until next year to make a more natural move. Fortunately, my teacher let me stay.
I owe so much to my parents for standing up for me in this matter. If I had been demoted to the class next door it would have been extremely difficult socially and would have been a big blow to my own self-esteem. I am sure that I would have seen this as my teacher losing faith in my intelligence and ability to learn and would have probably lost interest/confidence in my schoolwork. I can only imagine the self-destructive path that a move like this would have caused. Thankfully I was not aware of the discussion that went on in this conference until I was an adult.As it turns out I was able to hold my own for the rest of the year and they placed me once again in Classroom A for 4th grade. I was able to keep up with the “high achievers” and did just fine. Now this example is not earth shattering by any means but had it gone differently, who knows what would have happened. My teacher was basing the majority of her decision on one test score. Unfortunately this is how many important decisions are made in schools because of factors like time and resources. I am thankful that I have supportive parents who know me, my abilities and were willing to advocate for me. It was their support throughout my life that has helped me to grow to become the person I am today. Thanks Mom and Dad!