Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is there a problem?

Last week we had our Parent Teacher Conferences for both of the girls.  I wasn't too worried going into them, but when I got an email from Sarah's teacher indicating that she wanted Sarah there and that "We all need to talk", I got a bit nervous.

Megan's conference was first.  Sarah had the same teacher three years ago, so I knew what to expect.  The county has changed the curriculum somewhat since then, with regards to math. They are presenting the first grade curriculum and if the kids don't get it, they work backwards.  So, Megan is doing WAY more math than Sarah did at the same age.  And you know what?  She gets it.  They are doing tally marks and graphing and she totally gets it!  She recognizes all her letters, lower and uppercase.  She can do almost all the sounds that correspond with the appropriate letter and is plugging right along. Socially, she is doing ok.  Her teacher wants her to be able to stand up for herself.  My Megan?  Evidently she looks up to another girl in the class who is older and more advanced.  Megan kind of lets her tell her what to do and she seems to be content with it.  It hasn't been a real problem, but Mrs. F wants her to be more confident in the class and be able to tell her friend "No".  I was totally flummoxed hearing all of this.  Megan has absolutely NO problem standing up for herself at home.  We almost have to step in and prevent her from standing up too much and bullying her older sister!

Sarah's conference did not go as well.  She is a helper and is rushing through her own work in order to help others in the class.  She has been given more Red Apples (Rewards for good character) than any other 3rd grader.  However, the teacher has concerns about her reading comprehension and math fact retention.  I have had my own concerns as well, but was secretly hoping it was just due to high expectations.  I was wrong.  We are going to try and get Sarah to calm down and focus and take her time to do her work correctly.  I am going to work with her on reading comprehension at home.  We will both monitor the situation and take a look at things in a few weeks.

Toward the end of our meeting, Sarah's teacher sent her off so we could talk alone.  Mrs. T was concerned that she had scared me, by the look on my face.  As an educator, I was fully aware of the implications of what she was telling me.  But clearly there was a look of shock on my face.  I was upset, only because I know that IF there are problems, that would make things much more difficult for Sarah.

I debriefed with Pat later in the night and began to think that maybe I was overreacting.  Maybe things aren't as I fear.  My girlfriend at work, who used to be an Elementary School teacher gave me some tips and pointers on how to work with Sarah and her reading. We will just plug away and keep reading and reminding Sarah to put effort and time into her work.  I am hoping that when we review the situation in December or January that things will have improved.

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