10 November 2005

I survived the parent/teacher conferences, but I am worn out. ABM and I usually split the conferences but he couldn't get off work so I had to decide who I needed to talk to the most. M and C2 have been giving me the most cause for concern this term, so I chose to visit their teachers. It was a tight schedule because their schools are 30 minutes away from each other and we had to drive in rush hour traffic. Luckily, the teachers were a bit behind schedule so I looked like I was on time :-).

M's teacher was very nice but it almost felt like a waste of time to go to that conference because we've been in communication with her via e-mail for the past few weeks. Still, I recognize that if you don't show up for these things the teacher gets the idea that you don't care about your kid's education. So I put in my face time and assured the teacher that I am concerned about M's disorganization.

C2's conference was a bit more productive. It turns out that her teacher taught special-ed classes before coming to this school, so I asked her if she saw any signs of ADD in C2. I know that it has to diagnosed by a doctor, but I wanted to know if she felt that there was any cause for concern before I made a big deal about it. She said that C2's main problem was working slowly, and that she didn't really see that as a true problem because her slowness comes from being meticulous in her work. She also stated that C2 was much more focused than any of the ADD/ADHD children she has had in her classes. That was a great relief to me. The teacher suggested that the fatigue and unwillingness to work that I see at home may be a result of all the effort that C2 puts in at school all day; by the time I see her, she's probably just tired of schoolwork in general.

One thing I like about the elementary school conferences is that the teachers have papers ready for you to see so you can have a visual for what your kid is doing. I finally got the results of C2's reading benchmark and she is at grade level as opposed to below grade level at the end of 2nd grade. Thank God! At M's school, the IB program tries to groom them for adulthood by teaching responsibility for their own actions so the conference is more student-led than anything else. The teacher addressed M directly most of the time, asking her why she made a D and what she was going to do about that next term. M is good at saying what you want to hear so this is of no use to me. I preferred the sheets they gave out last year that showed me a list of the assignments and what her grades on each of them. Both of M's core teachers are new; they were called in as replacements just a few weeks before school started. Perhaps they will get themselves together before the next interim report is due.

Another thing I had to deal with today was the school book fair. I enjoy the book fair but the timing was just wrong because this is not a pay week. Also, I didn't have ABM with me to help me guide the children toward reasonable items. More and more book fairs have started selling toys and little gadgety things. I know this stuff makes more money for the school, but ABM and I both feel that the point of going to the book fair is to get books. This is one of the few times during the year that we buy books because they are a little cheaper and the school gets a kickback. To make things worse, most of the items on DJ's and C2's wish lists were gone because we got there late. DJ was more excited than usual to go to the book fair and all of his picks were sold out.
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