The idea is simple – post an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt – this week’s is to write a post that uses ‘average‘ as a word, or as a theme.
That’s a huge word, in the school world. Grades are based on averages. Each student (no, they’re not simply referred to as people, but students, which relegates them, in some sense, to a product to be acted upon and packaged, rather than a distinct, unique human being with a full set of thoughts, emotions, preferences, aversions, quirks, and memories) is plotted out on a bell curve, and the goal, of course, is to be there, near the middle, near the average -
But not average. Above.
Does that even make sense? Is it fair or kind to the people involved?
Because, if someone is above average – well, it’s a bell curve. Someone ELSE has to be below average.
Maybe that wouldn’t be a problem – except that schools tend to define anything below average as a failure. A C grade is -at least marginally – acceptable. But get a D – well, it’s school. You don’t want to get a D. You certainly don’t want anyone ELSE to know you got one.
But the truth is, in the school world, you might not want to get an A, either.
Other kids taunt those who are too far off the fat center of that bell curve. Yes, “average” is the target, whatever the propaganda might say. The kid who gets a D will be labeled stupid, and the one who gets an A will be labeled a teacher’s pet…
Because the entire nature of the public education system is based upon those grades, and that bell curve, and the law of averages.
I was one of the “smart” kids – but that’s really not fair. What it meant, really, is that my particular brain and personality fit well with the model schools like – I have a word-hungry brain, love reading and writing and engaging with new ideas, and tend to remember things I hear or read pretty near whole.
I didn’t put a lot of effort into schoolwork – instead, I put a tremendous amount into things I was passionate about. School was a game, and a requirement, and I played that game well – as far as the grades went. Socially – well, that’s another story. I was way too far to the right of the fat part of that bell curve, way too often – and, having grown up in a volatile and dysfunctional family, I didn’t possess the skills that could make me likable despite that fact. As one former classmate observed, I “made it easy” for others to pick on me, because I had no idea how to tone down who I was – and no desire to, either…
My own children lead a very different life. Averages aren’t how they are defined; they aren’t points plotted out on a bell curve. They don’t strive to get As, not get Ds, or be in the middle of the curve, with a mass of others, safe in the relative anonymity of a crowd.
It’s just after noon on Friday, as I write this. All over the country, kids are watching the classroom clock, wishing the day would end, maybe anticipating weekend plans.
Here, my son is just wrapping up his “day” – he was up all night, playing games, reading fan fiction, and playing a prank on his sleeping sister. He’ll be asleep, now, till well after dark. My daughter is just waking up from a few hours’ sleep – she was up until after 5am, so she might or might not sleep more later, – and she’s negotiating with her father on the timing of acquiring a new cat, and the specifics of her Halloween plans…she’s got a budget, but I’m really not sure she can execute her grand plans on it.
Are they average kids? Well, while I tend to think they aren’t, in many ways; in others, they likely are. They love Minecraft, their trampoline, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and many other things that are popular with other kids their ages. They love their parents, their lives, and each other. They smile and laugh every day. They learn every day.
Does it matter, against the reality of these real people, vibrant with their own individual lives?
Loving who she is, as she is!
Not to me. They aren’t part of a bell curve – they’re children, growing into adults, each in their own way and in their own time, and that’s all I need them to be.
I’m guessing that might make me something other than average, but I don’t care.
I’ve been off to the side of that curve most of my life, after all! =)
Where do you stand, on averages? Do you find yourself wanting to measure up, or would you rather stand out? Do you find the average appealing, or bland? I’d love to hear from you, no matter where you are on any bell curve! =D
Enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Anyone can play, so long as they are willing to follow a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)