We had parent-teacher meetings this week.
Michael went to Ron’s on his own, because we just couldn’t make it fit with our busy schedules otherwise. I physically can’t get to the school when I have all the kids here. The evening meetings didn’t slot in around swimming lessons, doctor’s appointments, and the like. Besides, I’m not worried about Ron yet, so even though I like getting the hero cookie, I figured I could miss his this time.
He’s doing very well. He’s reading well beyond his grade level. Everything else “comes easily to him”. He’s pleasant, helpful, enthusiastic, listens to directions, and is generally just a delightful little person. His teacher also taught Harry in grade primary, and she remarked that Ron reminds her a lot of her big brother, “except if Harry was at an eleven for intensity, Ron is more like a six.”
Back when he started preschool, he had a hard time adjusting. Like his mama, he doesn’t like big crowds, loud noise, confusion. Many mornings the preschool teacher had to pry him out of my arms while he screamed. It was horrible for all of us and I worried, as I always do, about what the future holds for my shy, nervous little man.
But he’s thriving. He has lots of friends. He genuinely seems to love school and I know I’m seeing increased confidence in him every day.
Getting to Harry’s meeting was more of a challenge. We both wanted to be there, because of the concerns we’re having. In advance of the meeting, we wrote a long email to his teachers explaining in greater detail our worries, our evidence of Harry’s abilities, and our goals for his time in school. The response we got – two lines from one teacher saying that we weren’t going to be talking about any of that until the results of his math assessment came back – both frustrated and disappointed us, and so we went in (an hour after George’s bedtime, all three kids in tow because we couldn’t get a sitter) braced for battle.
We were pleasantly surprised. Turns out that his teachers do recognize that Harry is something special. They were very frank about his strengths and his weaknesses, but they actually have a plan to help him, and are working through that now even though he hasn’t been formally identified as ‘gifted’. He’s being introduced to tougher concepts in math. They are pushing him to look more critically as what he’s reading, and also to challenge himself with more non-fiction books and less Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
I was very worried about his writing, because last year’s teacher consistently gave him low marks on that, saying that he was “well behind” where he needed to be. I’ve been racking my brain ever since thinking of ways to help him. Imagine my relief – and pride – when his teacher said that his writing has a distinctive voice already. She spoke quite highly of his writing and says that she’s going to be demanding a higher level of achievement from him going forward because he’s got that concept down.
We are still waiting for the results from his math assessment, and there will be another longer meeting with us, his teachers, the resource teacher, and the school administrator to discuss a plan going forward – but even if that doesn’t come to anything I’m confident that he is in good hands this year.