This past weekend, my daughter stumbled upon my kindergarten report card. I had Dr. Maas for a teacher (my parents were convinced that she went for the doctorate only because without it, we’d all have to call her “Miss Maas” which was just too much to ask of a class of kindergarteners).
I remember only certain (and mostly questionable) things about being in her class. By today’s pedagogical standards, her discipline tactics would force a gasp to leap off your lips quite involuntarily. Judging from her comments on my report card, though, it seems she had her finger on my pulse quite accurately.
“As you know, Jill is doing superior work. She sets extremely high standards for herself and may become distressed if she feels she is anything less than perfect. Jill responds well to praise and encouragement, however, so her own successes seem to have built a bulwark against the tension you were concerned about earlier. Jill is highly individualistic, and I suspect she will derive much satisfaction from grades 3 and 4 upward when she will be both ready and eager to plunge into sustained individual projects.
“I feel sure Jill will be able to forge ahead in first grade and achieve a superior level of success if she is not permitted to lapse into disproportionate negative emotions over small events. Your attitude was most helpful this year in this regard. Your continued cooperation will be beneficial.”
Funny how key character elements can be manifested at such a young age, and how apparent that can be to the observer.