Thursday, October 8, 2009

Parent-teacher conference

This morning I had my first-ever parent-teacher conference. You'd think this, at last, would convince me of my grown-up-ed-ness but, well, no. Still doesn't compute.

Anyway, back to Nate.

Meeting was just me, the lead English teacher (Ms. Amy), and the lead Chinese teacher (Wang Laoshur (teacher)). Stewart wasn't able to make it out of work, unfortunately.

The first question they had for me was if I had any questions for them. I told them that since I drop Nate off out front of the school each morning, and pick him up out front, and aren't really allowed to sit in class (it's so distracting for the kids), we are so curious about what Nate's doing all day! Obviously we know a lot about the schedule of his day, and what they're working on, because they're so good at communicating with us. But in terms of how Nate is specifically doing, the only clues I had were that he doesn't mind going to school, doesn't mind Chinese days, and has made one really good friend named Leo. So my guess was that things are going well for him, but I was really looking forward to the meeting for more details.

Best day ever.

They said that Nate is doing great. They said he's listening well and really participating in class and class projects. That he's doing well socially, getting along with everyone, interacting eagerly, and that he's happy. They thought his grasp of written letters, and school in general, was really "mature" and stressed how unusual that is in a boy his age (they said they rarely get to say that about anyone, especially a boy). They showed me an assessment they do the first day of each month where they give every kid a long piece of paper and ask them to write their Names, write all the letters they know, write all the numbers they know, and draw a pretty picture on the back. They don't give them any guidance with it. Nate's first had his name, ABCDE, scribbles for numbers, and his picture on the front of the page. His second had his name in a little more concise fashion, less letters, but it had 12345 and the picture on the back of the page. Seemed like a wash to me, but they seemed to be pleased with the progress.

The last step was for me to share our goals for Nate (one for each parent) and they would share theirs. They pulled out a totally blank piece of paper and told me that they were having a really hard time figuring out any goals for Nate, that he was already doing everything he was supposed to be doing. The best they could come up with, each of them, was that his fine motor control is okay but not great. My goal is for him to learn to enjoy playing by himself a little: playing with trains or building with blocks or something that doesn't involve direct parental involvement. So we wrote down our goals (Stewart's was just a boost in his reading ability) and the teachers are going to come up with an individual plan for him and then have an official "meeting" alone with Nate to go over the goals and get his thoughts on how he thinks they can work towards meeting the goals. That school kills me, they are so great!

So that was my amazing day. It's weird: I'm so thrilled and proud of him, but I just don't feel really responsible for any of it. Nate is exactly who is because he was born that way. He's been a rule-follower his whole life. He's been really adaptable to new situations since he was 2 years old. He's just who he is.

But I intend to enjoy the feeling. The only other assessments I've ever had have all been on Jack, and talked about what he should be doing that he isn't. It's a real joy to hear that all is well and good with Nate. He's just the best.

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