Friday, October 2, 2009

My First Parent-Teacher Conference

I never knew I'd be so scared to attend a conference with my child's teacher. Sure, I really wanted to know how he was doing, academically. But we've also had behavioral issues from him adjusting to his new surrounding. At least that's what I'm chalking it up to. However, I'm actually terrified this woman is judging me for his behavior. Like, I somehow have not been raising him appropriately. And ultimately you can do so much in instructing your children in the proper way to act. Whether or not they choose to do what you've attempted to teach is another matter entirely. I am also afraid she's already labeled him as a "bad kid" or "troublemaker." And it concerns me that something like that could follow him around in our town.
Every evening I ask him what he's done in school that day and every evening I generally get squat. I'm told of what he's done in after school care, what was on the lunch menu or what he did on the playground. "Please, tell me what you actually did in the classroom." has been uttered more than once.
So I put aside my fears of being judged as a parent and went in to make sure he wasn't already so far behind that he was considered a human doorstop.
I was more than a little relieved to discover that he's actually in the top of his class right now for the first 6 weeks! On the skills pre-test, he scored an 86%- one of the top scores. And with the kids in this group she gives them extra work of more challenging problems. And he's doing well in those. Not perfect, but well. Which is exactly what we want to do work that is challenging but not ridiculously hard. We looked through his notebook of drawing and writing practice. She was very pleased with him academically.
Behaviorally, he is improving. And most of his issue is when his personal space is invaded. Which is understandable to me. And I dont see the problem, except that he needs to learn not to respond with physical aggression. Okay I will concede that. For example: she told me of an incident that she didn't write him up for but she did speak with him about it. One of the girls in the class is a really touchy-feely-huggy type. And she will bear hug and hold on and squeeze. Well, she got a hold of WC one day and wouldn't let go. He punched her in the stomach. I'm guessing I can mark her off from attending his birthday party in a couple weeks.
And then there's his bluntness. He needs to work on not saying every thought he has the exact moment he has it without any consideration for how it makes someone else feel. Unfortunately he comes from a long history of relatives that think nothing of nothing of embarrassing the holy hell out of someone else. It seems he called an overweight little girl "fat" and this upset her. Mrs. V took WC off to the side to attempt to explain to him that he shouldn't say things like that. His defense was, "Well, she is." I had to cover my face while she told me this.
And she attempted to explain to him that even though something might be true it could hurt someones feelings to have it pointed out. I've been attempting for sometime to teach the whole, "do unto others" type philosophy. Not sure that the concept of empathy is getting across. And there's another no on the birthday party. I'm fairly a call it as I see it type of person. However, I do try and be considerate of other's feelings.
One thing she pointed out to me was, a project they did at the start of the school year was they made life-size cut outs of each child. Then the children colored themselves. WC was the only one to make himself with three yellow hairs sticking up on top of his head. The parent helper who cut them out got quite a kick out of having to cut around each of those "hairs." In the photo he is the one in the green shirt. But you can't really see the hair because they didnt tape each one to the wall so they fell forward.
He comes from a long-line of eccentric folks on both sides of his family, I'm afraid he may not be able to help some of it.

1 comment:

Michele said...

I had to laugh (albeit quietly) at the fat comment. Peter once called a little girl "old skinny and ugly". His defense: she was older than he was, rail thin, and he thought she wasnt pretty. Nothing is worse than an honest kid sometimes...

(I would have punched the hugger too. That's not cool!)