Spanish 10 Year Olds
Not only are the Spanish kids precocious, but they are also use to getting a lot more independence. Many of the kid’s classmates walk from their homes to and from school. In the parks parents don’t hover around their kids the way Americans do. You often see groups of parents talking with the kids over a hill and out of site. The school also encourages this independence. Starting in first grade the school program includes a week long ski trip to the
My wife’s anxiety was exacerbated by an incident we had several weeks earlier with my son. My son had run into a problem with bullying in his class. Apparently this is a common problem with Spanish kids. We’ve known several American families that transferred their kids to the British school or even started home schooling just because of this problem. In our case, one particular student was making life miserable for our son. You might be able to guess how my wife reacted once she found out. Just imagine a grizzly bear watching some hikers poking the bear’s cub with a stick. I think the grizzly would have a more restrained response than my wife. In a two week period, we had six meetings with officials at the school to address the problem. This culminated in a meeting that included his teacher, the school psychologist, the head of the lower school, the school’s program director and the head of the school. Personally I would have given some of the earlier meetings more than a day to have an effect before returning to the school, but each day, when something new happened, we went right back in. To be fair to the school, my son wasn’t telling anyone at the school when he was getting pushed around, but mostly I have to give my wife credit. Since having our big meeting things got much better. Not only have there not been any more incidents, but they have also worked with my son so he will be better able to deal with bullies in the future. As an aside, you might think that kids would make a special effort when a classmate has to learn their native language, but in many cases you would be wrong. Some kids just suck.
Now you might want to skip this paragraph because I was going to devote it to bragging about my son. I think he’s done great to put this behind him. He is not only doing well socially, but he is also topping his class in many of his subjects. In the fifth grade math contest (given in Spanish) he came in second. He actually tied for first, but ended up losing a coin toss to decide the winner. He still thinks that school is lousy compared to schooling in the states that he can cruise through, but he seems much happier to be in the “lousy” school now.