Monday, October 29, 2012

The Parent/Teacher Conferences

On Friday I had parent/teacher conferences for both kids. Now, I figured everything would be okay. I’ve only heard good things. Still. One never knows with my kids. They can be quite…rambunctious at home. I imagine there will be times when it could cross over to school.

“It seems,” I can imagine a teacher telling me one day, “that your child started going, ‘The bird is the word. Don’t you know, the bird is the word?’ when asked if she knew the answer.”

Ahem. Yes. They do watch Family Guy sometimes. One of the characters starts busting out with the song at random moments. My kids think it’s hilarious.

Natalie’s conference was first. Her teacher is friendly and immediately told me how sweet Natalie was.

“This Natalie?” I wanted to say. I mean, yes, she is sweet at home but she has her moments when she turns into Linda Blair. The mean version. Or she’ll act as though she didn’t hear me when I tell her to put away the iPod Touch and when I take it from her, she’ll shriek, “I was going to stop! I WAS GOING TO STOP!”


It turns out Natalie is where she should be for a five-year-old. I flashed back to when I went to Tommy’s Kindergarten meeting and remembered how the teacher kept saying she was worried he wasn’t “getting it” and that he had a hard time sitting still. Kindergarten was rough for Tommy.

“She’s reading about 10 words,” the teacher continued.

Readers, you probably won’t be surprised to know that one of those words is “pink.”

What we need to work on with Natalie is getting her to write her name in lower case letters. At the moment she writes them all in capital letters because “she likes how it looks better.” She can do lower case, she just doesn’t want to. So I guess in a way, some of her stubborness comes out in school. The teacher knows she can do it, because sometimes she’ll put a sentence on the board and have the students write it on their own. Natalie does it just fine. But when it comes to her name? Everything MUST be in capital letters.

Not that there is anything horribly wrong with this. One of my friends only wrote in capital letters. When I first met her, I assumed she was constantly shouting when she would pass me a note. I was thinking, “Chill, okay, we’ll do the swings at recess.” Then I realized, oh, that’s how she wrote.

The teacher also said that Natalie was finally letting her know when she had to use the bathroom. She’d spot Natalie grabbing her crotch frantically and go, “Do you need to use the bathroom?” and Natalie would practically race down the hall. Now Natalie has started to let her know before she turns into Michael Jackson. Awesome.

“She’s a really good girl,” the teacher said as she walked us out.


Next came Tommy’s. I always worry about Tommy. He’s a smart kid, but he struggles. Writing comes so easily to most kids his age but to Tommy, it’s a battle to get him to write a sentence down.

At Tommy’s meeting, it was his teacher and his resource room teacher. They started off by saying that Tommy is very respectful and that he’s a good kid. Then came the rough part.

One, he doesn’t like to read. This PAINS me, guys. You have no idea. He grew up with tons of books. I read to him constantly. He sees me reading all the time. But it’s hard for him to finish a book. He’ll read the beginning and won’t give a hoot how it ends. (HOW, SON, HOW?!) I know there are folks out there who don’t like reading but I never thought one of my offspring would be one of them.

He does need to work on his writing, but it is improving. Before you could barely understand what he wrote. Now it’s looking better. He just needs to expand on his thoughts. Like a man, he’s brief and to the point. When asked how he liked the short story they just read, he’ll simply put, “It was great.” Not explanation as to WHY he thought it was great. To him, that’s enough.

He needs to work on raising his hand when he’s confused. The teachers say he stays quiet and he doesn’t bother to ask for help. Then he’ll turn his work in and it’ll be all wrong.

But he does excel in science and social studies. He loves both subjects. He’ll tell me what they learned on social studies and be like, “Let’s go to Jamestown one day!” Like his mother, he loves history. So that’s something. He will somewhat read history books. And weather books. He still loves learning about the weather.

All and all, he’s on track and they don’t think he’ll be held back. Tommy is always paranoid he’s going to be held back a grade.

The teacher did stress that when he starts middle school, that I need to make sure I’m involved so he doesn’t slip through the cracks. They can help him there, of course. He’ll have his IEP, naturally. But middle school is different from elementary school.

“I know you’ll stay involved. I see how you always look through Tommy’s work in his backpack. So many parents don’t. But it’s just important that you make yourself known. Because Tommy is so quiet, I could see him slipping through the cracks,” the teacher explained.

I agreed. And I do plan on keeping myself involved. They’ll know me well in middle school. I won’t let my kid get lost.

Oh, and good news! Tommy made the honor roll! He got As and Bs! So he’ll be awarded at a ceremony.

Naturally I’ll be there, armed with my camera. I’m incredibly proud of my boy.


  1. So glad it went well.

    I saw Tiger’s teacher on Thursday. She was happy with his math but as always the dyslexia is an issue everywhere else. But at least she understands that because if it he needs all the support he can get plus loads of positive reinforcement.

    Cat’s teacher informed us of some ‘missing’ dictation. It seems that she has been pretending that it doesn’t exist in order to avoid having to admit she is having a hard time. So after a long talk by me and her granddad (who does her homework with her) she was informed that we will be putting some extra effort into this.

  2. Sound like really good conferences. I can tell you, they are as anxiety-filled for the teacher as they are for the parent.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  3. I had to laugh at you wondering HOW Tommy can not care how a book ends. I have that same issue with my daughter. HOW can you start a book and then just drop it??

    Sounds like the conferences went well, overall!

  4. My 24 year old son hated to read. We kept at it. He hated me for it. Fussed and cried and moaned. Yesterday he hugged me for my efforts.

    Keep up YOUR hard work. It does matter in the end even if the ending of the story doesn't!

  5. Yeah! Congrats on the A's and B's and the ceremony. Proud mama moment, yes?

  6. I live in fear that my baby will like math more than reading and writing...

  7. Sounds like they are both doing awesome! Congratulations.

  8. Yay for good conferences!! and yes, on middle school, making sure you're known is huge. The guidance counselor and all my older son's teachers know my email address because it appears in their inbox... if not regularly, at least often enough that I'm A Presence.

    You're doing great, and you'll all be fine :)

  9. Yay for the kidlets! Always love a good parent/teacher conference.

    As long as Tommy has you for an advocate, he will be fine. As for reading? Well, I don't understand it either - I will usually read a book I dislike to the end, just to see what happens. But I have always found that when you let kids have access to books about their interests they will read on their own for fun. It may not be your idea of fun, but they will like it.

  10. So happy for your son! Congratulations to him! By the way, I finished your book today. I loved it! You are definitely talented in writing. I hope you will continue writing more. Maybe a sequel to see what happens to Jane and Brian?? Please??? are good!

  11. aw good stuff mama!
    Caleb got sent home with hisfirst report card last week and is above average or at average for 99% of things the only place hes hurtting at is his "listening skills"

  12. YAY!!! Sounds like a great success all around! Bravo for BOTH of your amazing children!


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