|Claudia Kishi Middle School Drop-out Chapters 6-10
||[Jan. 23rd, 2017|08:52 pm]
Baby-sitters Club Snark-fest!
Claudia offers Rosa some chocolate, but Rosa declines. Claudia considers telling Rosa her theory that chocolate is an important part of everyone’s diet, but she figures Rosa would just give her a lecture on the nutritional needs of the average adolescent. I can see Rosa telling Claudia to explain her theory and maybe encouraging her to perform an experiment to test this theory. I don’t think Claudia would be down with testing her theory, because she didn’t even know what the scientific method was. And she’d probably think doing an experiment is geeky and therefore beneath her. Now I’m wondering how Claudia’s science fair projects turned out if she doesn’t even understand the scientific method and can’t be bothered to record results.
I also had the image of Janine trying to bond with Claudia by telling her about articles about chocolate she read because she thinks talking about that might interest Claudia. Then I see Claudia rebuffing her. Claudia’s parents have set up a tutoring appointment for the next afternoon, prompting Claudia to say that they don’t waste any time. Well, if I found out my kid was having difficulty with school and needed a tutor, I guess I would try and set up something as soon as I could. I hope that I'd have noticed my kid was failing sooner and intervened sooner.
Janine and Rosa make nerd jokes about inertia. I kind of want to see Janine and Rosa’s relationship now. I like to imagine them finding out there’s magic in Stoneybrook and that’s why all the weird shit happens and going around researching monsters and doing magical experiments. I also like to imagine them being part of science clubs. My classmate in college invited me to this event where this club was going to build little boats and see if they could race them across the lake. It was some science thing that I wouldn’t have been able to do or understand, but it sounded like fun. Unfortunately, I forgot when it was supposed to be and missed it. I like to imagine Janine and Rosa building devices. I like to imagine Janine having supportive friends.
Claudia tells us that Rosa isn’t a brainy nerd. She’s cool. I guess since Rosa dresses cool, Claudia will actually listen to her. I can see Claudia being like, “You dress like a geek, so I’m not going to pay attention to you.” She’d probably just spend the tutoring session talking shit about her tutor’s geeky outfit and how she would have improved it.
Rosa asks Claudia what she needs help with the most. Claudia says she needs help with math the most, but then admits she’s basically failing everything. She feels like crying. I’m not sure why. I don’t like to admit I’m having a hard time as well, but Claudia just spent the past five chapters acting like school was such a waste of time and that she could do well if she wanted, but she didn’t think it was worth the effort. I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic. Maybe Claudia didn’t realize how badly she was failing. Maybe saying it out loud really drove home how badly she was doing in school. But before this, Claudia knew she was doing badly in school and was basically like, “Whatever.” In fact, she basically resisted learning anything. Her teacher told her that she’d found the best example of a certain rock and she’s like, “I don’t care. I just care about the rock being pretty.”
Rosa assures Claudia that she’ll get caught up.It's mentioned in the next chapter that Claudia has tons of late assignments and missed questions and flunked tests, so they're going to need to work really, really, hard. They go over Claudia’s schoolwork. Rosa tells Claudia that she’s very intelligent and Claudia is relieved. I’m sure Claudia has gotten the lecture about how she’s smart but she needs to apply herself. She probably just tuned the person out. Then Rosa tells Claudia that she’s lazy, sloppy, has no idea how to learn the basics and how to remember them. She also tells Claudia that she’s smart enough to skate along for a little bit, but one day that method isn’t going to work.
I love Rosa. She basically said everything I’ve thought about Claudia a few times. Claudia is smart and when she puts effort into her schoolwork, she does succeed. But I think she’s just like, “I’m just going to glance at this math problem, reject all offers of help, and then not do my homework.” It just irritated me so much in the past five chapters where Claudia wasn’t putting any effort into her schoolwork and not even feeling ashamed and ignoring people telling her that her grades were slipping. If Claudia hadn’t wanted to join the art class, I don’t know if she’d have given a shit about her academic performance. It was just a little hard for me to feel sympathy when Claudia was basically like, “I could do well, but I don’t care to put in an effort.”
Claudia says she doesn’t usually fail tests and I just did a double take. I would have thought that Claudia had failed plenty of tests. Rosa says that Claudia probably gets the lowest amount required to pass and then promptly forgets everything. That makes sense. I think sixty percent is technically considered passing, so Claudia was probably getting a bunch of D’s on her tests.
Rosa tells Claudia she sucked at school, too. Claudia is shocked because Janine said Rosa was the smartest student in the class. Rosa says school doesn’t come naturally, so she has to work hard to do well. Rosa thinks it’s worth it. I’m feeling more sympathetic to Rosa. She isn’t naturally good at school but she wants to do well, so she works hard.
Rosa is a really good tutor. She explains things in a way Claudia can understand and shows her a new way to check her work so she won’t make careless mistakes. I’ve been guilty of that. There was this one math test when I was only two points away from getting a seventy (I got sixties and fifties) but I’d made idiotic mistakes. I was so mad at myself. If I’d checked my work, I would have noticed it. Rosa also teaches Claudia a way to remember the different types of angles.
Two things. What kind of school is SMS? Do her teachers not tell their students ways to remember certain things? I guess these memory tricks might not work with everyone, but they seem to work with Claudia. Or maybe the teachers did go over little memory tricks and Claudia didn’t pay attention. Claudia feels more confident after Rosa leaves. So I guess Claudia just didn’t click with any tutors? Has she had tutors before? Maybe her parents mentioned it and Claudia assured them that she’d catch up and they believed her. Or maybe her tutors quit when they had to keep telling her to pay attention. If I had to put up with Claudia going off on a monologue about the BSC or doodling or not paying any attention when I’m trying to help, I’d have been like, “Fuck this.” If Claudia wouldn’t be willing to work with me, I’d have quit.
Rosa leaves before the BSC comes, which is just as well because there’d probably be a huge fuss about Claudia talking to an outsider. Claudia wants to make sure her friends aren’t aware of how much trouble she’s in, so she goes to the bathroom and puts on a nose ring.
Everyone freaks out, except Mallory who thinks it looks cool. This supports the headcanon that I like for Mallory- she gets tattoos and piercings. I also believe that if Mallory went to a school that had a creative magazine, she wrote for it. Hell, if the school didn’t have one, I like to imagine her creating one. I also see her writing for the school paper because she wanted to branch out with her writing.
I really don’t see the big deal. Then again, my mom was always very lenient with tattoos and piercings and I think a nose ring is tame in comparison to what Claudia could have pierced. Of course, my brother got into a huge fight with our parents in high school because he wanted two lip rings and they were like, “Hell, no.” I don’t think my mom would care about a nose ring, though. She used to have one. My brother has one as well.
Claudia tells her friends to relax because it’s a fake. Mary Anne asks Claudia if something is wrong because she’s been kind of upset lately and the nose ring trick is clearly a way for her to try and run away from it. Claudia cries and confesses. The BSC are good friends and say they’ll help. They actually tell Claudia they’ll lighten her babysitting load so she’ll have more time to focus on her studies. If I were Mallory or Jessi I’d be like, “So it’s fine for Claudia to not to do much babysitting, but when I want to devote more time to my writing or dance, it’s a huge thing?” I get that school is important, but if I were in their shoes, I’d be a little miffed. Of course, I can get pissed off at the dumbest shit imaginable.
Claudia is still having trouble with school. She doesn’t remember what Rosa taught her, even though they went over it a few hours ago. Maybe Claudia has a hard time retaining the information. Or maybe it’ll take more than one tutoring session for the information to really stick. Maybe there are times when you go over something and you understand it, but you still need to go over it a few more times.
Claudia tries not to focus on her academic problems because she has her art class. The art class goes well. Claudia is making an improvement in school, but it’s not by much. She is improving, but she isn’t suddenly getting straight A’s all of a sudden. Yeah, I’m not sure if someone would go from being a D student to an A student unless they were faking being a shitty student. Claudia’s teachers notice her improvement, but tell her she has to keep up with the reading and review. I think that’s what a lot of teachers do. Don’t teachers expect you to keep up with the work unless there are special circumstances? Claudia also goes to the resource room and complains that the aide actually expects her to put in some effort to keep up with her schoolwork.
Claudia flunks another math test. She got a fifty something instead of a forty something, so I guess it is kind of an improvement, but not by much. It’s still an F. Okay, so I’m not sure if it’s an improvement. The vice principal, Mr. Kingsbridge, calls a meeting with Claudia’s parents and her guidance counselor. Claudia doesn’t think much of it-just that it’ll be another lecture and she’ll have to promise to try harder.
I get the feeling Claudia has gotten lectures before on putting effort into her schoolwork and how she’s doing poorly and she just brushed it off. Claudia is embarrassed when Mr. Kingsbridge mentions how many late homework assignments, missed problems, and failed quizzes Claudia has. If Claudia is having such trouble with school and her parents place such an emphasis on education, why haven’t they been monitoring Claudia’s schoolwork more closely? My brother was like Claudia when it came to school and my mom would constantly have to be hassling him to do his homework. Maybe they were trying to give her space? Or maybe Claudia lied to them?
Claudia’s parents aren’t shocked because they watched her struggle all fall. So if they knew Claudia was struggling, why didn’t they do something? Were they waiting for Claudia to come to them? But Mrs. Kishi said they didn’t realize how badly Claudia was doing in the last chapter. I guess they thought Claudia was doing badly, but nothing major. But why haven’t they tried to help Claudia or gotten on her case to try and bring her grades up?
The guidance counselor asks if Claudia has ever thought of college. Claudia doesn’t say anything, but she says college is a long way off. I thought so too at that age. Of course, this doesn’t really matter because Stoneybrook is trapped in a time loop, so Claudia won’t go to college. Claudia’s parents say that she’s working hard. Well , Claudia wasn’t working at all before now. I guess if she wasn’t doing any work at all, it’d be a huge struggle to try and catch up. The guidance counselor says Claudia lacks the foundations or something and that she’ll have to repeat the seventh grade.
So why is this book called Claudia Kishi, Middle School Dropout? She didn’t drop out of middle school. As far as I’m aware, don’t you have to be sixteen to drop out of school? But I could be wrong. I’m pretty sure you can’t drop out of middle school at thirteen. Actually, you probably can in Stoneybrook. I can see Claudia having an argument with her parents about dropping out of school because it’s useless because she’s going to be an artist.
Also, can they really demote Claudia back to seventh grade in the beginning of the year? How does this work? Can someone really just tell a student, “You’re doing really badly. Go back to the previous grade?” Maybe Claudia getting sent back to seventh grade is bullshit. I have no clue how these things work. But if Claudia was incapable of understanding concepts she should have grasped from sixth and seventh grade, how the hell did she pass them? How has no one taken a look at Claudia’s academic performance and been like, “Maybe she needs to be held back?”
Pike sitting chapter. They argue about Halloween costumes and make stuff for the sick kids in the hospital.
Claudia is moping about being demoted to seventh grade. She goes to get her schedule. She has some of her old teachers. Claudia talks shit about how babyish her classmates look. Apparently the boys look like they’re nine. Yes, I suppose the eighth grade boys have mustaches and six packs. How grown up can you look in middle school? And the girls dress in babyish fashions Claudia gave up when she was ten. You wore teddy bear barrettes with streamers. I really don’t think you have room to talk. But I guess Claudia is just looking to complain about everything because she’s upset.
Claudia says she cares about the other kids thinking she was dumb. I don’t know if she cared before. I don’t know if she cared about kids thinking she was dumb when she was in the eighth grade. Maybe she cared, but not enough to put in any effort to change it. Then again, the kids still might see her as dumb even if she started improving. They might think she cheated. Claudia has a hard time adjusting, but when she does her homework, she finds out she actually understands it. Maybe eighth grade was moving along at too fast of a pace for Claudia.
Jackie’s back from the hospital. Guess what the BSC does? Talk shit about Jackie being the Walking Disaster. They say that he doesn’t seem to be up to his old Walking Disaster form, but they’re sure it’ll come. Jerks. I always like to imagine the rest of Stoneybrook finding out the shit the BSC says about them. They have a surprise party for Jackie and still talk shit about him being the Walking Disaster. The whole party is a walking disaster because Nicky spilled punch, Margo got food in her hair, and a plate of brownies is too close to the edge of the table. That seems normal for kids.
Now that I think about it, spilling punch and knocking things over seems to be normal behavior. I think the BSC just pay more attention when it’s Jackie. I mean, who hasn’t spilled something or tripped? Other kids have probably done it as well, but the BSC is so busy going, “Jackie tripped! What a Walking Disaster!” that they’ll ignore the fact that other kids have klutz moments, too.