The Jews don’t like average
Parent-teacher conferences are one of the many minefields of having school-aged kids.
If your child gets a positive review, you wonder if the teacher is talking about your kid. If your child gets a bad one, you alternate between wanting to beat the teacher and beat the child.*
There is a nebulous middle ground called average. And that is where my second-grader has fallen this first marking period. He is an average student who could – and should – do better. If he wanted to. I respect his teacher and we had a lovely chat about how to motivate my son.
And then I fretted on the two-minute drive home. Because average? Is not acceptable.
If I brought home a C – which I don’t think ever happened, but back in the day, a B was a C – my father would throw the report card on the floor and stomp on it with his size 14 shoe. It was simply unacceptable. We were smart kids and we had better succeed in school, or else. There was never any question we’d all go to college right after high school. Academics were always the priority. It was expected.
It’s also a Jewish thing. I’m sure other cultures (Tiger Mom, anyone?) also stress academics, but it’s certainly true in Jewish families. Maybe because most of us aren’t going to be making millions in professional sports. I don’t know, but in talking to other friends who grew up in Jewish families, it was the same way. They all had their own version of the foot stomping.
My eldest son is a fairly laid-back kid. Nothing seems to faze him. He passes? He fails? Feh. This is the first year he gets actual grades, and when he balked at doing his homework last week, I pointed out that if he failed, he’d have to go do second grade again.
But hey, second grade is fun so far. There are worse things that could happen. Like taking away his bey blades.
So I talked to him about trying harder and not talking so much in class. He said, “Okay, Mommy.”
Okay? Not okay.
*no child was harmed in the writing of this blog