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Three plus A plus A plus more A's Equals... The Fifth Grade... A Tale of Skipping...

Sometimes getting "Straight A's" isn't a good thing.  Sometimes it can actually hurt, and many kids never get over it.

I can remember it now.  Just like it was yesterday.  Me and Ann Marie Zeitz.  We were always the last two standing in the "spell-downs" in the third grade at St Jerome's Catholic School in Cleveland.

Same thing for the "math-downs."  Same for vocabulary, same for the Geography contests, and just about every other test Ann Marie and I ever took.  She was first, I was second, or I was first and she was second... or we were simply both "tied for first place."

I remember our teacher... Sr Mary Of The Cross.  She was an Ursuline Nun.  She's is probably a saint now.  Actually, she was probably a living saint way back then !  She should have been, with everything Ann Marie and I put her through.

It wasn't all "glory" way back then.  Always getting straight A's in a Catholic grade school class... it wasn't easy.  And... the pressure of it all.  But, then again... neither of us felt any pressure whatsoever.  We were just "being us."

But... I guess they felt sorry for us.  Either that, or they didn't want the fourth grade teacher going through the same stuff with us when we were to start back to school the next September after summer break.  So... what did they do ?

They "skipped" us.  Both of us.  Ann Marie skipped the fourth grade... so did I.  Bingo.  Third grade in June, fifth grade three months later.  Ouch !

What they did not realize was... that both of us were already the youngest girls in our class before they skipped us.  And, the shortest.  And the most inward... as each of us were shy and bashful.

There I was... the first Tuesday in that following September... starting fifth grade feeling like even more of an oddball than I did only one year earlier starting the third grade.  At least there was oddball Ann Marie.  At least there were two of us.

If you are the parent of early elementary school-aged children... here is my suggestion.  If you are ever approached by any of your children's teachers about them "skipping" a grade... [I think back then they called it being "accellerated..."] please talk to one of your child's school counselors before you do anything. 

After that first day in fifth grade... I don't think I got even close to escaping my "oddball fish out of water" feelings until my first day in college.  I think I would much rather have preferred being allowed to live my childhood elementary school days... rather than "skip" over them.

Comment balloon 33 commentsKaren Anne Stone • March 20 2008 11:39PM
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