Frustrating Geniuses

Would these students frustrate you?

I’ve been teaching long enough to have experienced the joy of former second graders becoming productive members of society–some married, some parents. There is an engineer, actor, comedienne, teacher, stay-at-home mom, pastor, nurse, graduate student, and professor. Of course, I haven’t kept track of all the students I’ve known deeply, but enough of them live around here or have occasion to visit that I’ve reconnected with many. It’s always a great joy.

When they were in second grade, though, some of them caused me frustration. Maybe you can relate? For instance, what kind of second grader would Will Ferrell be? Think Elf. We’ve all had a student or two like Will who could make a name for himself on SNL someday, haven’t we? Another example–imagine how frustrated the teacher was who called Albert Einstein addled, causing his mother to pull him out of school and teach him at home. We too have students in our classrooms who are more intelligent than us.

When I consider the students who have frustrated me over the years–the ones who got my goat after a long day–I think of the clowning, the spacey, the proud, the hyperactive, the oddball.

I’ve grown as a teacher, and fortunately, over the years I’ve become less frustrated with students. Now, don’t get me wrong! I do get frustrated still, for now I teach junior highers. I don’t always understand their special adolescent brand of genius! Maybe I’ve learned, though, to not look too soon for the adult they are going to become. Besides the normal school smarts, I try to look at genius in my students in its myriad forms–comedic ability, technological savvy, a deep inner life, high intelligence, physicality, construction skills, spirituality, athleticism, and a one-of-a-kind spirit.

What kind of second graders and junior highers do you suppose these folks would have been?

  • Steve Carell, Jim Carrey and Steve Martin
  • Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Ernest Hemingway
  • Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs
  • Tom Cruise, Cher, and Winston Churchill
  • John Lennon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jack Nicholson
  • Howie Mandel, Lady Gaga, and Michael Jackson

What geniuses are you nurturing in your classroom right now?

3 thoughts on “Frustrating Geniuses

  1. I’m glad to be reminded that we are entrusted to all kinds of geniuses….comedians, writers, thinkers, techies, sports fanatics, artists and so much more.

    When I get feeling frustrated I think about my own children. Would I want the teacher to be frustrated with own kids? Certainly not.

    We need to look at those students who require us to be more patient and remember that they are someone’s son or daughter. They are the world to someone and that someone should include us!

  2. Amen, Nancy. Thanks for that important reminder. They are all beloved sons and daughters!

  3. Hi Mrs. Krebs!
    How are you?
    Thank you for commenting on my commenting guidelines! I’m sorry that I’ve taken so long to respond- I’ve been very busy with school!
    You have a lovely blog! This post really caught my eye and I found it fascinating. It’s really interesting to think about what everyone might be doing with their lives someday. Sometimes when I’m bored in class I think about what everyone might be doing someday; sometimes I can imagine it and sometimes I can’t. I think you have a wonderful outlook on your students, judging from this blog post I can tell that you really are a great teacher. You remind me of my second and first grade teacher (she “looped” with us and we had her for two years!), I feel like she would regard her students in a very similar way. I’m actually still very close with my teacher and a few years ago (during the summer before seventh grade) my family went up to her and her husband’s vacation house in Bar Harbor, Maine and stayed with them for a few days. We had a wonderful time. As a second grader I don’t think I would have ever thought that about six years later I’d be staying with her in Maine. I sometimes wonder what she might have thought of me as a second grader; was she ever frustrated with me? Although she enjoyed having me as a student, I’m sure that I must have frustrated her at some point. Everyone does. I guess all second graders have a bit of frustrating streak in them and the best teachers can look past that.

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