When Teachers Hold Us Back

by , under Child Development, Language and Reading Skills

On 9Gag today, I read a post that was supposedly a father’s response to this note a teacher wrote on his 7-year-old’s assignment.

From 9Gag

From 9Gag

In the response, the father explains how throughout his education experience, he was shot down by teachers who thought he was cheating or trying to suck up simply because he exhibited more intelligence and reasoning ability than the rest of his peers.  You can read the full response here.

Whether this 9Gag post is real or not, it doesn’t matter, because every day higher functioning students DO receive embarrassing reprimands from teachers who don’t know how to address a brilliant student.  As a higher functioning student in my class, I dealt with these very same commands to “hold back” and slow my pace to meet the rest of my peers.  My first memory of this happening was in kindergarten.

When I entered kindergarten, I already knew how all of my ABCs (upper and lower case), how to write them, what sounds they made, and could even spell and read some second-grade level words.  I had even learned to write my name in cursive.  Each week of kindergarten, we learned a new letter: the letter of the week.  I distinctly remember one day deciding to write out my full name on an in-class assignment.  I began:


and then started on my last name:


At this point.  The teacher had come around to my table to monitor our progress.  She took one look at that O and said to me, “Don’t write O’s.  We haven’t learned them yet,” before promptly taking an eraser and obliterating the offending O from my paper.

THAT is the kind of treatment I fear will happen with my son.  He turns two-years-old in a few weeks.  When he was 16-months-old, he knew all of his ABCs, upper and lower case.  You can read about that here.  In fact, he’s sitting here with me as I type this spelling out the words.  He can count to 22 and understands the concepts of counting and numbers.  He knows basic shapes, colors, and can read simple words.  That’s nothing compared to the 10+ word sentences he strings together and babbles throughout the day.

I don’t write this to boast.  Okay…..maybe a little.  I write this to show how truly fearful I am of sending him to public school kindergarten.  Will they recognize his brilliance, or will they herd him with the rest of the sheep?  Will they hold him back or find ways to build upon what he already knows?  Hell, at this point, does he even need kindergarten?

I am certified by my state to teach secondary English, yet here I am writing a blog post about my worries that my potential colleagues and past peers aren’t going to recognize his strengths and implement learning activities to make sure he’s not held back.  If I don’t have faith in the education system, and I’m part of it, I completely understand why the general public has little to no faith.  They have no faith because things that the 9Gag article highlights DO happen EVERY DAY.


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  1. Cheri

    This worries me too! A has been asking me to help her write letters. She knows most letters by sight (thanks Super Why!), and she wants to learn more. She even wrote (a very messy) lower-case a yesterday. I got her a few books to allow her to practice her letters simply because she wants to learn.

    This is part of the reason I want her to go to cyber school. She’ll be able to continue to work ahead in the areas that she wants to learn more in. I just want to follow her lead and teach her what she is ready to learn!