Parent teacher interviews; the good, the bad and the simmering irritation.

I’ve had parent teacher interviews for both kids now. For the most part they were both good.

Lexi’s was surprising in a few ways. When she was in her speech therapy group she was super fidgety, didn’t listen well and pretty much did her own thing. I was expecting a lot of the same in school. It was pleasantly surprising to hear that those worries were unfounded. her teachers said she listens well, follows rules and directions wonderfully and is a good kid in class. Hooray. They then said that she is very quiet and withdrawn in class…. wait, what? It was at this point that I wanted to ask them if they were sure they had the right child. Lexi talks all. the. time. (i have no idea where she gets that from, really I don’t, ha ha ha). It turns out that because of her speech issues she is very reluctant to talk in class. She knows she can be hard to understand and she hates to repeat herself. The SLP said that she is starting to open up more now, and that once they do more work on the speech sounds, they hope she will open up even more.

The preschool she attends is a Headstart program, so they have a lot of resources to help the kids, she sees a SLP twice a week, and they have an OT visit the class from time to time. The OT noticed that Lexi’s fine motor skills aren’t quite up to par. They will help her at school and they gave us some ideas of things we can work on at home. It great that the help is there for her. So all in all the meeting went well.

Eslyn’s was a few weeks ago. Normally I go, talk to the teacher, and go on my merry way. She’s a good student so all her parent teacher meetings have pretty much been the same. She’s doing good, she’s very helpful, friends with everyone, is pleasure to have in class, blah blah blah.

And for the most part this one was the same. She’s going to be getting straight A’s on her report card, which is great. Her teachers only complaint was that, at times, she seems kind of distracted part way through the lessons. She’s had this teacher before for Kindergarten, so the teacher knew this wasn’t like Eslyn. I mentioned that Eslyn had been complaining that she was bored. We figured out that she’s finishing her work quickly and is doodling and spacing out out of boredom.

In Grade 2 they work through the reading levels I-M. Eslyn is at L right now. It’s where they expect most of the class to be in January. At that point her teacher figures she’ll be reading at a Grade 3 level. Great right? at the time I thought so. The teacher and I continued talking and she said how most of the class was at the beginning of the Grade 2 levels or still reading at a Grade 1 level. So the work they are doing is geared towards those levels and that’s probably why Eslyn is getting bored. Then she said something that at the time wasn’t even a blip on my radar. She said that she finds it is difficult teaching to two or three different levels.

Later on when I told Donnie about the meeting what she said kind of stuck in my brain. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it is hard to teach to a bunch of different levels. You don’t want to make things too hard for the students who are struggling or those who are right on level. But how then do you challenge those who are ahead?

It’s one of those things that has made me more and more irritated the more I think about it. I don’t want any kids being left behind so mine can be challenged, that wouldn’t be fair. I also don’t want my child not to reach her full potential because she’s not being given work to her capabilities. Part of me wants to get angry with the teacher, to demand that she find a way to teach to all the kids, but I know that’s probably not likely. I don’t want to be ‘that’ Mom, but I also want to be an advocate for my child.

And then sometimes I doubt myself. I’m sure she didn’t actually mean she wasn’t challenging the kids who are ahead, I’m sure she realizes that Eslyn has time to draw elaborate scenes on the back of her finished work means it’s to easy for her. I’m sure the kids who are almost a grade level ahead of their peers in reading aren’t being ignored.

Sigh.

So my plan for now is to wait. There are two reasons I am taking this wait and see approach. the first is that I’m hoping that now that the teacher realizes Eslyn is bored that she will challenge her more. The second reason is that her teacher is done at the end of the week, she’s going on maternity leave. This means a new teacher and a new teacher will have a new approach, a different way of doing things. So I will wait until January and see what happens. And in the mean time we will continue to visit the library and let her read to her hearts content.

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