Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good Things to Remember While Waiting

Leo spontaneously summarized his standing in class the other day during dinner. Dinner, the 3 of us, happens each nite around 5pm. Dad comes home later, round 2 for them - some fruit, perhaps a little dessert, and daily supplements mixed in yogurt. Anyway, he began sharing how he admired his new friend Jack that sits next to him in class. We've never had Jack before, and so I had no preconceived ideas about him. Leo began saying he's "the smartest" kid in class, giving some examples. Surprised, I asked him to define "smart", and how he felt about that. Leo said Jack knows pretty much all the answers, reads and writes really well, and is excellent in math facts. I could tell he was really impressed, but not envious. I asked what he thought about himself. Did he feel he was doing well? He said he thought he too was "one of the best kids" but not "THE best" in class.

His awareness astounds me. He's figured this all out on his own - that in a class how people measure up and how teachers and other kids respond to it. I've never asked about this. I've never wanted to fuel any competition. I've only focused on how HE feels about himself and his accomplishments, focusing on trying your best, and reminding him that each person is different and good at different things. And when he's sound arrogant at his natural academic ability, I remind him about humility, showing-off and the consequences, and other stuff like that. And, that we all have our challenges like his talking out-of-turn. And mine is yelling!

Leo also notices how some kids don't try their best. Some goof-off more than others, and some get in trouble more than others. He's got everyone's number in his class, or at least those that sit at his table. He even gets irritated by his best friend because he pretends to read his books from his browsing box during reading time. Leo said he always "really reads" because he wants to get better and do a good book report afterwards.

Leo is no saint - he shared this morning how he and his friend sneak past the hall monitors and go through a different door to get to their bus early. They make a game of it and see who gets there first. I like that he knows the system at school and finds ways around it, even when it's breaking a rule. Love it!

Okay, back to obsessing....And why do I obsess? I must monitor Leo's progress to see if he needs some type of servies again. I have to be realistic - something may crop up that is disability related that needs support. It never ends!

29 hours left until my Parent/Teacher Conference. I still have no clue what I'm going to say regarding her lack of encouragement. I may point out that I've noticed his writing is subpar to what I saw day after day in 1st grade. He does just enough to get by. Leo was so inspired last year! He'd write on and on, and he was one of the top writers in his class. His work was often the example for class - embarrassing him by reading his work to the whole class. As you can guess, I relished the part about being embarrassed the best! Those emotions, indicating he gets what's going on around him, interpreting them accurately. What more could I ask for?

I'd have to guess at this point she still doesn't know him - has no idea what he's capable of. I don't really know how detailed they go when a teacher passes info on to the next. That's a lot of stuff to read for 22 kids, but hey I think it's important. Speeds up the learning curve, and sure, it may give impressions that may not benefit the child.

Sydney's conference for kindergarten is right after Leo's. I hope I can be present enough for that to be productive. I want to be there for her, and really get a feel for how she's doing and if there's an issue.

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