Thursday, March 25, 2004

Chess

We're sending a team to the Chess Nationals!

How to choose which children attend?

I think - and several colleagues agree - that it ought to be based on either attendance at tournaments or chess ability, or some combination of the two. Then, any students with major behavior problems should be excluded, but that would really only eliminate one or two kids. What actually happened was that the chess teacher and chess coordinator selected kids based on commitment and - to be perfectly honest - favoritism, and then the rest of the kids competed in a schoolwide tournament today for the remaining positions. Then my principal got very upset because she had apparently banned two students from attending any more tournaments several months ago, yet neither of the two chess teachers knew this. Communication failure? Definitely. Arbitrary over-reaction to some relatively minor offense? Probably. The kids in question are unlikely to do anything awful at Nationals, no more so than any other pre-teen kid who finds himself or herself sharing a hotel room with a friend.

I don't even disagree that much with the students chosen by the two chess teachers, I just think that one set of criteria ought to have been applied to fill all the spots. The teacher who is our chess coordinator is loved by the children, except the ones who resent him for playing favorites. Kids at this age are obsessed with fairness and justice.

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