The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers .
I have a group of girls I call my “perfects” – highly motivated, Type A, very together, always on task and on time. They play Spring and Fall sports – A Team & travel, naturally – yet never miss an assignment, or need to ask for an extention. Their work is always beautifully done, and their projects are works of art. “Perfect” students like these should make my teacher heart sing…but I worry about them, instead. Because these perfect students seem to come in one variety only – girls.
Oh, I have highly motivated, Type A boys, too – star athletes and students as well. But I can count on these guys to make some knuckle head move in the hallway, to get silly about this or that, to be sixth graders with all the goofiness that that implies.
That is never the case with my “perfects”, however. They never seem to let their guards down. A 98 on a test (out of 100, that is) is cause for tears and anxiety. They need to think twice before raising their hands, because…what if the answer is not quite what the teacher is “looking for”, or even, gasp – wrong! They always seem to be watching to gauge the teacher’s reactions, as though to calibrate their answers, their behaviors to what they think we expect. Often, I see little spontaneity in these girls – and they seem to be watching each other, too. Measuring each other, judging themselves.
I worry about these girls – I worry that this heightened anxiety and need for perfection will be turned against themselves. Who can be perfect all the time? It’s impossible to be perfect all the time. And, who wants to be always just so? At this very moment, lunch recess, I have three young ladies recopying their math homework so that it “looks neater”. Really? Why don’t you play a game? I ask. Like the guys at the back who are deep into raucous card games and Apples to Apples. It’s recess, for crying out loud!!
I worry about these girls – I worry that they may harm themselves, start monitoring their food intakes (some of them are already talking about “being fat”, which alarms me), get into controlling relationships…. I worry about them. We live in a time of empowered women and limitless possibilities. When bossiness is celebrated. And yet….
I worry about my “perfect” girls.