Another Thursday

I'm glad to say that this week's round of piano lessons went better than last time. The baby was all smiles and charms and nearly everyone had their books this time...notice I said "nearly."

I do have a bit of a problem, though. One of my students is incredibly bright, completely bilingual (her father is from Spain), beautifully imaginative, very musical, has the best sense of rhythm of any young student I've taught, but is having real problems with note-reading. It's frustrating for her and frustrating for me, and I'm afraid she'll get discouraged and quit. A great teacher would know what to do. A merely good teacher like myself would try a few things and then just fret. Her dad told me she has problems with reading in general, so at least it's not all my fault. But it makes me wonder why she's behind; she's having enough problems with note-reading that I wonder if she's got a disorder of some kind.

These kids must face some real competition, even in their elementary school. You see, they live in an exclusive neighborhood (re: very wealthy) close to the University, so I would bet that a good portion of the people that live there are professors. Not just any professors either, but the ones that are prestigous enough to afford to live there. Therefore, their kids are usually pretty smart (one of my students, the daughter of a law professor, was reading Louise Erdrich novels at age 9, and I don't get the sense that this is unusual). So when I know that a student of mine is having some trouble reading, I bet that this could set her apart more than in a normal school.

One of my students is practically a genius. He's in 6th grade and gets to be in special advanced math classes because he's so smart. I hope that my child is smart, but not a genius, talented, but not gifted. That would be such a huge responsibility. I was a smart kid. No genius, fortunately, but I impressed my second grade teacher enough that she recommended I advance directly to the fourth grade, so I did. I think I came through it pretty well, but it wasn't always easy. Being younger than everyone and still performing at the top of the class pretty much sealed my reputation as a nerd. Wearing the world's dorkiest glasses didn't help. Neither did reading books as I was walking to school.

At least my students are in a place where being smart and precocious is acceptable, probably even desirable. Because of that, I think I can partly forgive the fact that they are surrounded by such wealth and privilege.


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