Friday, September 30, 2011
This morning I had school conferences for both the kids - one right after another. And, as I did last year, I left there reveling in how awesome the kids are and how awesome our school is. I was a bit nervous going in about Miss E's. Mr. T, I knew, was fine. He's right where he's supposed to be, his teacher thinks he's the funniest kid ever, and he's doing great.
Miss E, I was a bit more worried about. You see, with her, she's kind of gotten used to everything being EASY. Reading is easy, math is easy. Last year she covered for that by spending her time learning about the mechanics of school and being social (which is not her easiest thing) but this year, she kind of has that stuff down. And while I love that she's good at school, I also don't want her to assume that she never has to TRY for anything or THINK about anything. To her credit, she's very self-motivated - yesterday on her rest time she wrote a 5 page story and did 4 worksheets on synonyms, antonyms and homonyms - and that's great but she's not really being challenged at school like I had hoped.
BUT. It's awkward to be the parent who walks into the conference and tells the teacher that her kid is super smart and that the class isn't hard enough. Part of it is because I have this fear of coming off as the "flash-card" parent - you know the type, the super-driven, kids have to stop playing at a certain time everyday to do flash cards or other structured learning -and they're 3. Because we aren't like that. I strongly value free play time for the kids, I actually delayed Miss E learning to read a little bit so she could focus on more creative play. But at this point, at this conference, I knew the time had come to push for her to be challenged more. And I was nervous.
In the end, I should have had faith in the school because it's awesome and so is her teacher. Turns out (unbeknownst to me), her kindergarten teacher put her on a TAG watch-list. But at this school they try really hard not to test kids in kindergarten for TAG because once you test, you can't re-test for 2 years and kindergarten is so young, that they end up with a lot of false negatives. So she was going to be tested at the beginning of this year. But then her teacher met her and realized that being pulled into a strange room with a strange teacher during the first month of school would not produce a good result with Miss E and is delaying the testing until January or so, when Miss E is more comfortable and such. I was thrilled. Not necessarily because of the TAG thing, I don't really care one way or the other if she qualifies and I don't think it means that much extra, but because her teacher, at this early point in the year, seems to KNOW her so well and to understand her. And the teacher seems to be on the same page about making everything more challenging. Whew. What a sigh of relief.
There is no blessing at school greater than a teacher who knows and likes your child. It's just huge.