It’s parent-teacher conference time again. Does anyone else get sweaty palms and performance anxiety over these damn things? It’s like my subconscious thinks I’m going into a Gestapo interrogation.
SS Kindergarten Officer: You are feeding him ze Fruit Loops for breakfast are you not?
Me: No! No. I swear! Nothing but wholesome cheerios and the occasional pancake.
SS Kindergarten Officer: But you let zem watch TV and you refuse to read wiz zem because it ez boring, no?
Me: GUILTY! Oh god. Guilty! Don’t turn me in.
Absent the dark imaginings of my slightly hysterically fearful of authority mind, they have been great. Saige and Garrett are doing just fine. They read. They vaguely recognize the numbers 1 to 33, in order even. They can correctly identify a quantity larger than another quantity, especially if you phrase the question in terms of which child, in the last year, has received a larger piece of candy than another child. They are deliciously average and meeting standards in every way.
Yay for meets or exceeds standards! It’s the little things!
This morning was Garrett’s conference and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with his teacher and hearing about his behavior in class. She managed to make me mostly believe that she enjoys him despite her vague references to his failure to shut the f@ck up for ten seconds and listen to what someone else – the teacher, his friends, the wall - is saying. She assured me that this is not unusual for Kindergarteners and not a particular problem for Garrett.
There was, however, she explained, tapping the “2″ on Garrett’s report card under “Social Development Criteria” next to “responds appropriately to adults and students,” something that they had been working to improve. Garrett needs to think before he speaks and not say everything that springs into his mind as it can result in hurting others’ feelings.
Oh god. You know my heart dropped and my mind flew back to the incident in the fall when he told an aide that her self-portrait was too thin. Before I could sink too low in my chair, she went on with an example.
She had a sub in class last week as she ran conferences and they had been working on a fairly simple activity for – she admitted openly – ” a rather long time.” Garrett went boneless in his seat and, his head thrown back and his arms hanging in limp despair at his sides, declared loudly, “I’M SO BORED. I’M GOING TO DIE IF WE DON’T DO SOMETHING ELSE.”
Fabulous. So he has inherited his father’s intolerance for any kind of banality, repetition or stupidity and my flair for insanely dramatic sarcasm. I mouthed promises to talk to him about how hurtful criticism can be if delivered incorrectly – a skill I am not sure that I have mastered in the last 39 years – thanked her and left. I did actually make it out the door before I lost it laughing. Barely.
I have only Quinn’s conference to go and he attends to an elitist, wanna-be-hippies-but-we’re-paying-too-much-for-preschool, Waldorfy school, so I’m not too worried. Childhood is magical, you know. An endless arc of learning. I am allowed to make fun of elitist hippies because I am almost one. If it weren’t for the constant barrage of embarrassing alternate views from my Republican husband, I would throw in my lot with them completely.
Actually, my penchant for traditional education often whacks against my longing to believe whole-heartedly in alternative methods. Here you go. I’ve been playing with a new program and I made a mock animated video of a pretend conference for Quinn at elitist hippy Waldorfy school. I’m the one with the ponytails. The hippy preschool teacher is played by the weird fanged anime. I had limited options.
I am kidding. Mostly. I totally respect school choices of all sorts. We mock what we love.