Friday, February 26, 2010

The brainy math girl posse

I was trying to describe my middle schoolers group of friends recently. Trying to define where she fit in, if she does at all. All I could come up with was that she hangs with the smart, kooky brainy kids. Kooky in the way that she is shamelessly ok with being clowny and possibly obnoxious at times but definitely unique and an individual. She has found some similarly kooky and irreverent kids and seems to have a solid thing going.

Perhaps we could call it the "odd duck" posse but what a posse to have.

I know there is mean girl stuff happening. Even in our bucolic little small town. Most of these kids have known each other since they were teenie. I know that the odd duck posse is very easy to point and laugh at although I think they are a little afraid to bug them too much. Who knows what they are capable of? Somthing horrendously embarrassing, no doubt.

But the odd duck posse seems to hang together for the joy and fun of it, not for preservation or protection. Thank god! But it is early daze yet.

Today the 6th grade math kids go off to the Math is Cool competition. This will be the 3rd year that my middle schooler has participated. The amazing lack of nerves and bold, raw confidence shows what it feels like to have a couple of these under your belt. She is "fired up and ready to go".

This year there are 2 full classes of advanced placement math. That is like 45 kids out of 110. What is that? Around 40%? When the try outs came down for the competition, my brainy math girl got the highest score in her one class shocking more than a few of the other kids and maybe the teacher too.

Needless to say she got her place on the team. They assemble 4 teams of 4 with 2 alternates. 16 kids out of the 45. I am sure there was disappointment out there. Wish it didn't have to be that way. Frightening how we hone these kids to be so competitive, putting them through the paces. Scary really. For some of them, competition is all there really is. We try to keep it a bit more balanced around here but it is hard.

So, 2 girls and 2 boys on each team. Thankfully, at least, they make sure there is gender equality for this thing! The other girl on my brainy math girls team is a kid she has known forever, a very competitive kid and not really a friend. Could she be considered one of the mean or popular kids? Probably, although I don't know. My kid's exuberance and joie de vive probably just bugs the hell out of her. Can't say I blame her. And, she is from a much more conservative family; politically, socially, everything.

Initially there was some dismay, so I tried to turn it on its head, "Because you guys are on the same team, all that competitiveness can be directed out! You guys will be a very strong team partly because she is so driven. She won't be competing against you but with you."

"Good point." she says and hasn't brought it up since. Hope that is how the other kid sees it too.

Because, you see, I am going to have to go strictly by hearsay. Again, I will not be going to help out. I wanted to, don't get me wrong. I wanted to real bad but my kid said no. But I went for the 4th grade one so I can pretty much imagine it.

So, I will hoover up the details, the gory and the glory, and send positive math thoughts and happy equation wishes to her all day! And, of course, faithfully report back.

Good luck brainy math kids! Life is so much more than winning a contest but, hey, winning feels pretty good! Go get 'em!

Update:

Just got the word; 1st place 3 years in a row!

2 comments:

Holly said...

Good luck and good for her! She loves math so much, she should be a doctor!!

Scattered Mom said...

Wow, that's amazing! I've often thought that I'm learning disabled with Math-and my teenager definitely is. I wish that I understood it a lot better.

Kids can be cruel with the smart ones, but I have found that as they get older, it get better. The teasing turns into respect-with the real competitive ones, maybe not...but they at least then might fuel each other a bit to try harder.

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