On Saturday, Young Ladrinka took an admissions test for 6th grade at the local public school. In NYC, you have to apply to get into certain public schools. I’ll let you think about that for a moment, while I get a cup of coffee.
Young Ladrinka has been going to a private school since he was 2 which means that he’d spent weekends at his classmates’ homes in the Hamptons and been invited to spend Spring Break in Palm Beach, but he’s never taken a standardized test and doesn’t know from making all circles on the answer sheet dark. The correct ones, that is. But Husbandrinka was in charge of explaining that concept to him, mostly because I have an undiagnosed yet deadly allergy to tests. I’d get tested for it, but…
Anyway, the night before Young Ladrinka and I prepared for the test.
“You need to bring pencils with you,” I told him.
“Why do I need pencils?” He asked.
“What do you mean? To take the test.”
“Isn’t the test at the school, though?” he was still confused.
“What kind of school are you sending me to that they don’t have pencils?” he asked. Because at NYC private schools, each student gets a personal butler to supply them with pencils. Fine, I’m exaggerating. Some kids have to share.
He packed the pencils. And a snack. And a supplemental snack in case the primary snack didn’t take.
“Are you nervous?” I asked. Because in my experience questions like that relax everyone.
“A little,” he said. “What if I fail, will you hate me?”
“Of course not,” I said, like you’re supposed to, “I just want you to do your best.”
“What if I do my best and get every question wrong?”
“That won’t happen.”
“But if it does, will you be proud of me?”
“If that was your best, yes.”
“What if I get everything right and it’s not my best?”
“There’s no way that can happen. If you get everything right it means that you’ve done your best.”
“No. I could get some right by mistake.”
“You’re saying that if I get everything right without trying my best you won’t be proud of me? Thanks a lot, mom!”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Ok, but we both know you did.”
“Just do your best.”
I walked him over to the school early on Saturday. I was scanning my memory of best last minute wisdom to impart.
“Sometimes you’ll get a question that you just don’t know the answer to,” I explained. “You just need to not panic and take a guess and move on.”
“GUESS?” he said, “shouldn’t I try to think about it first?”
This may explain why I’m not in the test prep business.
One year ago ...
- Things I Learned - 2014