January 27, 2014

Progress Reports.

(Yes, I am aware that these are awful photos.  I care, but good photography is low on my list these days...)

I remember my very first parent/teacher conference.  Jakob was a tender kindergartener who cried the first week of school because mean lunch ladies kept telling him to get in a "single-file lime" and he didn't know what that was.  Seems like yesterday, a lifetime ago.

Mrs. Hollister, who will forever be sealed in my mind in her full Snow White Halloween costume, was an older, calm, amazing teacher.  She taught me and my first two.  I learned how to be a mother of public school children from all of my beloved kindergarten teachers (we've had- and REQUESTED, the best).

I don't believe that children must all get straight A's to be good, bright kids.  (Although, I humbly admit that all of our children have always gotten all A's or A's and maybe a handful of B's- in spelling).  I don't really care about grades at all- although (or maybe this is why) my kids really care.

My first parent- teacher conference was surprisingly wonderful.  I sat down nervously and listened while a beautifully sage teacher described my son.  She knew him, like I did.  She saw his strengths and weakness.  She noticed my years of preparation and praised me for my work as a mother.  I specifically remember her saying, "Jakob is the only child in class who knows every nursery rhyme."

After five years of parenting I felt like Todd and I were not alone.  We had help raising our children.  There was someone else who knew and loved this child of mine, who was willing to spend hours each day teaching him. AND- this teacher thought we were doing a good job.  

I didn't realize that his first report card would feel like my first report card.  We both passed!  

Even as I write this, I am concerned by how that sounds.  I believe I could have felt the same love and support, even if the teacher was showing me a report card with failing grades.  

This semester one of my children got a 2/4 as her band practice grade and a 4/4 on band skill.  I'm GRATEFUL for the 2/4- not even a little embarrassed or upset.  A 2 helps her to see an area where she can improve.  I said nothing to her- at all- about her grade.  Her report card was an accurate portrayal of where I think she is right now.  She said to me as she handed me her grades, "I got a 2 in band practicing.  I really need to do better at getting my practice sheet signed."  I like grades.

Jakob has had his struggles (he is dyslexic), but even as we worked with both special ed and gifted and talented teachers, I have always felt support and encouragement.  Because of his dyslexia he could have gotten a grade buffer for spelling.  I opted out of this.  He is really smart and I didn't think a bad grade in spelling would hurt him.  

We all have strengths and weaknesses.  It was ok with me (and him) that spelling was not his strongest point.  He has always worked a little harder in the areas he was weak in.  We had THE BEST dyslexic training program (I love Texas schools).  He is still getting A's in honors English in high school. 

I LOVE public school, I thank heaven for the perfectly individualized teachers my children have had.  I'm grateful for the lessons that school has taught me about advocating for my children and working with a community.  

Communities are beautiful.  It takes a village to raise children- especially eight.  We have always been blessed to live in beautiful, inspiring villages surrounded by inspiring villagers.
I think we have a darling puppy.  Jakob is a cute new father.  He was up twice the first night for potty breaks (no accidents), and slept all through the night last night with no accidents.  Rocco did pee in the garage this morning while Jakob was getting in his snow gear (it is -20 here with lots of snow), but I still think they are both doing great.  Love these pups.

(Rocco and Ben both perk up when I baby talk to one of them... Oh, I suppose I may now have 9.)
PPS-  can you take a moment- right NOW, and join me in praying for a friend's son- Michael Connely?  He has double pneumonia and is on a ventilator. Just a few happy thoughts for his speedy recovery-- right now?  Prayer works- I have felt this power.  Miracles are real.

Life, prayer, school, and new puppies are good.
Happy Monday!
(Take a moment and appreciate a happy Monday with me!)
Ha! (Do you know how many years I have had 3 toddlers at home with me? A long time!!)


Anonymous said...

Fantastic!!! So proud of all of them (and you) - it speaks highly of you all that despite the craziness and challenges of the year, you can still receive such glowing reports. Ice cream sundaes all around! Love, Aunt Sandra

Anonymous said...

P.S. - you got me thinking about how when I was a kid I would come home with all As and maybe an A- or a B+ and that is what I would be asked about. Sure, I knew they were proud of me, but the injustice of that (admittedly gentle) questioning always stung a bit. I say, ignore the aberration and just celebrate the majority grades. Later, you can gently ask about the other less than A grades. But not on report card day... Aunt Sandra

jenifer said...

Yup. I like to let my kids tell me about their grades so I can say things like, "I can see how hard you're working. That A in English took a lot of rewriting!" Or, "yes, but I know you can bring that grade up this semester. How can I help?"

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