Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Rollercoaster Ride

At the beginning of this school year in September I called A’s school to introduce myself and find out how I would know about her progress as the year went on. I was told that there would be a parent’s evening in January and there was no discussion of report cards or progress reports. I kept thinking that if something was really wrong, hopefully someone would have called us. There is no point in asking A. what is going on. I have said from an early age that she will be a spy later in life. You can try and interrogate her but in the end the frustration is all yours and you are none the wiser.

H. had class late so I attended the parent’s evening with A. alone. We had a schedule of ten minutes with each teacher. The teachers don’t have their own classrooms so we were led to the school lunch area and auditorium to meet the teachers who each had a table and three chairs. Due to the number of people in one place it was extremely loud and therefore not as beneficial as I was hoping.

When we arrived A. found one of her friends in the auditorium whose mother I had not yet met. She was extremely friendly and asked how we were settling in. I told her that I was surprised there wasn’t more contact from the school up to this point and her response to me with a laugh was, “Here we send them off to school and they come home years later”. The lack of parental involvement continued throughout the evening. As we sat down with each teacher, the teacher might say hello to me but that was the extent of it. The rest of the time they were talking directly to A. about her performance. As I expected, the art teacher is ready to adopt her and the others feel like she is not working to her ability. At some point when we were talking to her history teacher he asked A. a question and she sat there without an answer. He looked at me and said, “Well this is an awkward silence”. I responded with, “Yes, let’s let it go on a little longer for her”. The evening finished on a good point, with her chemistry teacher telling A. who looked like someone had shot her dog that she had done well to fit in and complimented her on her abilities. She was telling us both that we should be proud of getting through the last few months with the amount of change in her life.

She’s got some work to do. It’s funny that now that she is older she is getting very rebellious about school work and feeling like people are trying to control her. I certainly want her to be independent in her adult life but parenting that in adolescence makes my head hurt.


Anonymous said...

Having no children, I'm going on my own experience - 40 years ago! Is it normal in the U.S. to have the student accompany the parents on these meetings? I can see the benefit so the student could "defend" themselves but in a way, I appreciated not knowing exactly what the teachers said.

I too would want a bit more contact with the school I'm glad to hear A is doing well there.


J said...

I think schools in the U.S. go through this process in different ways. I remember when she was in 4th grade going to the conference and A. actually had to present to us and her teacher how she did and her "goals" before the teacher gave us her opinion.