September 9, 2012

First grade sets course for life

You. Sit down and pay attention. Yes, you.

Drop that lollipop, wipe that stupid grin off your face, and for heaven’s sake, turn your pants around the right way.

I’m not saying this to scare you, but you’ve already been in first grade for a couple of days, and I don’t like what I’ve seen.

You’re not in kindergarten anymore, kid. These are the most important 10 months of your life, and you’d better take them seriously.

Last year was all one big party. A playdate with 20 of your best friends. You sang songs, painted pictures, frolicked on the playground, ate cupcakes. If, by the end of June, you were able to latch the Velcro on your shoes all by yourself, the year was deemed a complete success.

Now, however, school is for real. It all counts. You will be expected to learn stuff, important stuff, such as math, science and grammar. Two plus two better equal four, or else.

Your report card will have no more “S” grades for super-duper. No “D” for delightful, no “F” for fantabulous. From now on, a D on your report card is for dubious future. F is for failure. It all goes on your permanent record.

Get a D on your report card in the first semester of first grade and you automatically get rejection letters from Harvard, Yale and the rest of the Ivy League, along with Stanford and MIT.

College admissions become more competitive every year, and scholarships become increasingly scarce. Can your mommy and daddy afford to give you a few hundred thousand dollars for your schooling? Maybe you’d better ask.

Your parents aren’t the only ones banking on your success either. Unlike your kindergarten teacher, your new teacher isn’t just a sweet woman who loves children: She is someone with aspirations. She wants to move up to fourth grade, and ultimately 10th grade French. She will be judged on how you perform. Comprende?

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