Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You May Have Big Dreams, But First You Have to do the Assignment

 In conjunction with today's @theCoffeeklatch  about what to do when your SN child has typical issues, I am reposting some past blogs. Now for the lighter side of typical behavior in your SN child.
 Highschoolboy is greatly enamored of his film study class. He spends hours picking apart some of the greatest films ever made. He uses terminology and has an understanding of film configuration that I do not comprehend and think I never shall. He is seen as “film boy” at school, which gives him a really good intro into social conversation. The problem for HSB lately is that he thinks the assignments in his film class are kind of “lame.” In fact he just got handed back an assignment which he did in an art house style even though it was just supposed to be a straight forward basic script.  Needless to say, he received a really bad grade, but he has been given the chance to revamp the project to comply with the teacher’s rubric.
The problem that we have encountered here is that HSB is always reluctant to redo work. In fact one of his major issues in English is that he has trouble editing his own writing. We know he is very capable of understanding how that is to be done. We just received his PSAT scores and he was in the 96th percentile for the country. So lack of Basic English skills is not really his problem. His problem is even more elementary-he thinks he knows everything, pretty much like most teenagers. He thinks that his spin on the script should be acceptable and in fact makes the idea even more interesting than what was assigned.
Who knows? He may actually be right about that. HSB does see things that others cannot. However, the problem is that that was not the assignment.  It was supposed to be a two page scene where there is some kind of interaction at home. HSB decided that there are no interactions at home, that no one here talks to each other and therefore, he was just going to create a wordless scene. Now HSB does generally like to sit at the computer when he is not doing work, but he also likes to hang with his dad, fight with his brother and play with the dogs. Me of course, he still has no patience for. However, HSB, being HSB, decided that he wanted to use his alone time at the computer for his interaction scene. Can you see the problem here and why he had to do the assignment over?
So he writes a screen play with no dialogue. The protagonist is just sitting at the computer. There is no human interaction. Because there is no human interaction, the music HSB chose is a song with no music and no word. Hence since there is nothing going on there is no need for music. Yes, he found a song on the internet with no music and no words. He fully explained his thought process and what the purpose of the scene was in his script. I don’t think the teacher was amused. He only got 50% credit for the assignment.
Now in trying to explain to HSB how he has to do what is assigned according to the rubric given, his case manager attempted to be gentle because she knows that HSB does not like receiving poor grades. Especially when he thinks he put in a goodly amount of time and effort and did the assignment right in the first place. She explained to him that one day when he wants to make a film for Telluride, Toronto or the Tribeca film festivals, he can create anything he wants to. But for right now he is in high school and has to do the assignment as it is given. He cannot deviate from it and decide he is going to improve the assignment. It doesn’t matter that he thinks he knows better. There is a purpose to the assignment.  If he can’t see the purpose then just do it because he wants to get a good grade in the class. Finally HSB relented and accepted that he had to do the assignment as assigned.
Is HSB stubborn? To say HSB is stubborn would be a gross understatement. I remember his kindergarten teacher regaling me with a story about a conference she attended. They had to list the attributes that would help someone become a doctor. Then the speaker asked them to imagine that type of personality in a kindergartener. She told me there was an audible gasp from the audience of teachers.  She related this story to me, because HSB was giving her a run for her money. HSB has never changed. He has always been stubborn, highly intelligent and in need of going beyond what the class does. He sees things in every subject that others do not and for the life of him cannot figure out what is wrong with the others that they cannot keep up.
He sees no purpose in the mundane and the uneventful. He seeks to expand his horizons with everything that he does and go beyond the limits set out by society. HSB thinks outside the box. Unfortunately for him he needs to stay inside the box just a little bit longer. Well, at least for another few years, until he can get the basics out of the way.  In the meantime we will help him understand that there is a purpose to the mundane. That sometimes you need to go slow in life; that there is a process to learning. We will try to teach him that just because he can see the reason and meaning behind a wordless and music less song that not everyone else can and that there is a place on this Earth for both him and them.

Until next time,