The Academic versus The Ego

10 Apr

The entire class was huddled together on the itchy patch of commercial carpet in the kindergarten classroom. Our heads craned upward, captivated, watching our teaching tell us all about the wonderful, stupendous, and incomparable letter “C”.

“Ka,” she enunciated the hard sound. “Can anyone think a word that starts with this sound?” All around me, girls raised their hands quickly.



I didn’t have any word, or was really sure as to the letter “c”, but they got approving smiles, along with a “Good Job”, and “Excellent”.

I just wanted attention and approval. I raised my hand high, and “oohed” the loudest.

She called on me.

I was so happy. A deep breath, wild and frantic thought for a word, any word, and I said,


She said the right thing,

“Good try, Esther, but that’s a ‘p’, not a ‘c’” and she moved onto the next kid.

But her face.

Her face, of course, told me otherwise. With lips twisted in a hidden smirk, right brow slightly raised, it plainly said,

“Seriously? A ‘p’ for a ‘c’? Moron.”

The teacher’s comment on my end-of-the-year report card read.

Esther is very withdrawn in class, it has not impacted her academic performance, but it is of concern, relative to her social interactions with her peers. We will be noting it, and keeping an eye on her progress.

I know “Lo habeishan lomed” (the bashful does not learn), but for me, I think Fiero of “Wicked” had it right when he sang, “Those who don’t try, never look foolish”.


Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Memoir, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “The Academic versus The Ego

  1. Princess Lea

    April 11, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I still remember the Morah I had in 5th grade who gave me a look of sneering contempt when I traslated the Hebrew word for “oasis” as “strong men.” I still recall how my ego hit rock bottem, how the classmates picked up on her scorn and echoed it.

    Fiero had it right. I never raised my hand again.

  2. unravelmythoughts

    April 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    teachers gotta teach kids HOW to LEARN, which is genreally synonymous with asking QUESTIONS. Seriously. If you don’t ask, you won’t know, and when you’re forced, Fiero, you’ll look TWICE as dumb (PS, speaking from experience, most of the class doesn’t know, either, and are only being scornful bec they know that had THEY asked the Q, the teacher would have given them the same treatment)


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