Monday, April 23, 2007

The Report Card

I have decided that I just don't like Caitlyn's teacher. I have also decided that I am not going to fight anything the woman says anymore. The only saving grace she has at this point in time is that she is a phenommenal reading teacher. That is the only positive thing that I can say about her at this point in time. Part of the reason that I won't be arguing with anything she says anymore, is the fact that there are only a handful of school days left in the year, and I just want (read, need) to be done with her.

The parent teacher conference was, as usual, a huge pain in my ass. Let me just run down a list of things that she said about my kid:
1. She wishes that Caitlyn would smile more.
2. She thinks Caitlyn has a tendency to be too sensitive to things.
3. She says Caitlyn is very/easily distracted when she is working in class.
4. She feels that Caitlyn is fully prepared for first grade and will have minimal difficulty with transitioning to first grade.

Now.....number 4 is all that is keeping me sane right about now.

Let's break some of these down a bit shall we?

1. Are you telling me that my daughter is frequently unhappy? "I often have to tell her to smile and be happy," says the teacher. When I question if Cate smiles while playing, while chatting with other kids, while being read to, etc, I am assured that she does. Well, then, when isn't she smiling? "When she is working on a worksheet," says the brilliant one. Well, hmmm, maybe she is concentrating? Or better yet, maybe she doesn't smile for you because she likes you about as much as I do???? Get bent lady, my kid is happy and smiles all the damn time when she is home. Of course, when it is appropriate to do so, not just because I think she should be smiling.

2. Caitlyn is very in tune with the feelings and emotions of others around her. Very often, she mirrors what others are feeling. Caitlyn has always been the kid to cry at the drop of a hat. I don't discourage this, if it is appropriate to cry in a situation, then by all means, I am going to allow her to cry. If it isn't appropriate, say for example when the lead on her pencil breaks, then we will discuss why that is nothing to cry about. But when she has done something wrong in class, like wrestling, and she is reprimanded for it, is it wrong for her to feel guilt and then cry? I don't think so. She has disappointed an authority in the classroom, so cry, feel better, and move on with the day. But apparently, this goes hand in hand with my kid not smiling enough.

3. Saying that my daughter is easily distracted means something entirely different to me than it does to other moms. I work in special ed, and I hear "easily distracted" thrown about no less than 10 times a day. And every time that it is mentioned to me, it needs to be explored whether or not this distractibility is interferring with their ability to learn. More often than not, the answer is no, but it bothers the hell out of the teacher that the kid isn't sitting still all day. I pose this very question to Caitlyn's teacher. "Is it impacting her ability to learn and complete work in the classroom?" Teacher responds with a very quick no. She also is very quick to tell Matt and I how perfectly normal it is. Really? Then why the fuck is it noted on her report card if it is something that is within normal limits?????

Here's the scenario of Caitlyn's distractibility:
Teacher: When Caitlyn is working on a worksheet, if the child next to her starts talking, she stops what she is doing and pays attention to that student.

Classroom environment:
All children sit at circular tables.
All children are within 1 foot (12 inches folks) of each other.
Teacher has said in the past that she encourages socialization (it is after all kindergarten)

Now tell me this, if you are sitting next to someone, 12 inches from them, and they start talking, and they are your friend, do you not pay attention??? Does that make me distractable because I do?

And finally, did the kid who started talking thus distracting my kid have anything said to them?? Probably not, as I am most certain that this has escalated to nothing more than a personality conflict at this point.

Because of this personality conflict, my daughter now has 2 checks for this marking period. Making a total of 5 checks so far for the year. Kindergarten!! 5 checks!!! What is wrong with that picture.

I ask the teacher why is it that on the behavior charts that come home every day, there are smiley faces for the majority of days. These marks on the report card certainly are not reflective of those behavior charts. To which she has no answer. Rather she dicks around and beats around the bush trying to convince me that the two are unrelated. Maybe in your world lady, but not in mine.

It is at this point that I have decided to just finish out the year as peacefully as possible. It is obvious that this woman can't give explanations for marks she gives on a report. And certainly does not approve of parents asking her questions, or should I say, calling her out on her bullshit. I am almost positive that my name has been mentioned to the first grade teachers. Which should make for a fun filled second year of school. But I know that I have to go into that year without any preconcienved least that's what I keep trying to tell myself!

On a positive note....I am super proud of my little girlie who has mastered several of the skills that are on the report card. And when she told me that she was upset about the checks, I reassured her that I didn't give a hoot about those silly checks. That they mean absolutely nothing to me and I am just happy that she is learning and thriving in that classroom.


Kari said...

Oh my, arent you glad that school is almost over. Sounds to me that the teacher is pretty random at things! It certainly doesnt make sense at all!

abby said...

I thought that your assessment of the situation was wonderful and will try to remember this post when I am dealing with parent-teacher conferences and report cards a few years from now. It does sound to me like Caitlyn is doing great in school and that you have a huge array of reasons to be proud of her. I hope that she doesn't take those stupid checks to heart and listens to her sage mommy instead.