Compare and Contrast

So I got a pretty nice handful of compliments today on an English paper I wrote for our Antigone unit, about 'Creon as a tragic figure.' Things like, "great selection of quotes," and "a great deal of personality [in] your writing (which is no easy task in formal writing)." It was particularly flattering to read, "[this] shows a writing level far beyond your age."

But I started to wonder, does this mean my now-sweet and well-disposed student teacher (in ten years he may be a bitter, crooked bastard like many of his older colleagues) is a little ageist? That seemed silly, with the assumption that the comment was made in good will as a compliment. Nonetheless, who is to say what people my age should be writing? Is it even fair to compare my writing with that of others my age?

I've also been told that I'm "more mature than my age." Why does this matter? Why can't I just be as mature as me? Of course, I hear this mostly from parents of kids my age, so perhaps it is just that apparently irresistible parental urge to judge other kids.

I'm not trying to complain about being called mature or a good writer. I like those things. My ego likes them a lot. Also, I realize the school system is relative and it counts more to be 'better' than it does to be 'good.' I think it's just the wimp in me that hates competition, naturally loathing to be compared to anybody.

Cliché closing statement today:
Just love me for me!


Mudansha said...

Of course he's ageist. It's a requirement for teachers. It's not their fault though. I blame the system. Instead of grouping people in terms of skill and maturity level, the system says that you should be able to do certain things at a certain age, which does nothing more than stunt the growth of those farther along in their development, and make those who are less able to perform at a certain standard "based on the majority of people their age" feel stupid and useless because they are compared to others of the same age rather than the same skill level.

Martial Arts is nice because they don't force people who are able to pick up the concepts easily to stick around with those who are slower, and they don't force those who need a little more time to face off against people who will utterly destroy them. School should be more like Martial Arts.

That's my rant for the day.

Kenny A said...

Ohhh... that happened to me too. People always told me I was mature for my age. Made me feel like I was somehow ahead in life... but well, in a lot of ways deep inside I wasn't, I only knew how to show the "mature" parts to others because I felt more comfortable that way. People saw it as maturity, but I was actually doing a lot of hiding because I had troubles just being me.

Kenny A said...

The "loathing competition" part caught my attention too. I hated competition because I was competitive and I actually hated losing so I didn't play the game.

Then, one time, I was forced to compete. I lost because I never tried to win before. It hurt really bad, but after a while I got used to playing and I started winning. Winning is way better than losing or not playing at all. By far.

Edna said...

Oh Kenny, how I love your extended metaphors.