Monday, September 23, 2013

Smart kids

I am teaching high school English this year for the first time in a very long time.  In the recent past I have mostly been teaching people with remedial reading skills.  I was very excited to be able to finally get back to teaching people who already know how to read well so we could get past the fundamentals and move forward with the content and themes of selections of reading.  However, I think I may be in over my head. For four of my five classes I'm totally fine.  I'm teaching the eight parts of speech and literary elements and have a plan for how to build on those things to get them to read more complex things, and eventually write somethings they can be proud of.  But the last of my classes is Honors English.  This is a class of 9th an 10th graders that are miles, MILES, above their peers academically.  And after correcting their first essay test, I suspect that a few of them are miles above me as well.  (Not really, but only because I have 30 years of experience on them.)

Just to give you an idea of how smart they really are:  I was correcting one test and came across a word I hadn't heard.  I was about to circle it but then something in me stopped myself and I looked it up.  It is a word and he used it perfectly in context.  I just didn't know it.  I almost made a total ass of myself.   As I was reading through one of the essays, I said, "Unbelievable" under my breath and Mitch asked me what I thought was so unbelievable.  I read him the first several paragraphs of one of the essays.  Mitch said, "Ha! Google the first sentence of the paragraph and I bet it will pop up.  That kid copied that from a college paper!"  But I know they didn't copy their essays from the internet because this was an essay test and they didn't know what the question would be until they came to class, and then they wrote their answers RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

I find it thrilling that there are such smart kids in the world and that I get to spend some time with them this year.  I think I forgot that there must be an equal and opposite to the low kids I've been working with for years.  However, I have to wonder if I am the best thinker for them to learn from.  Just yesterday I ate more beets than I cared to eat just so my pee would turn red.*  I will have to bring my game up considerably for these kids and that might be kind of fun.  If I can do it.

*it worked, and it was cool.

1 comment:

  1. I love stories about smart kids. Let's just say that I never ever see the kids from the gifted and talented program in the health office for eating dirt. Thanks!


I would love your comments.