Back in February, my husband and I went to our kids’ parent teacher conferences.
As usual, Monkey got a glowing report, and the teacher said that she mostly wanted to meet with us to tell us just how well he had adjusted to life in his new school. She knew how concerned we were about that, because of all the anxiety problems and slipping grades he experienced before we moved here. That was a great conference!
Unfortunately, Diva’s conference didn’t go nearly so well. In fact, her teacher and para discussed possible retention with us.
It literally made me sick to think that my baby girl might have to go through Kindergarten all over again, but I could definitely understand where they were coming from. She’s not mature for her age, she doesn’t talk as plainly as the other kids do, and she’s struggling with several of the basic things they want her to know to go on to first grade. Let’s not even get into the behavior issues and diva like tendencies…
It reminded me of the week I was signing her up for Pre-K. That was so hard, because at the time I was getting her registered, she was only three years old. When she didn’t answer questions right during her eyes, ears, and dental check, I asked the nurse if she thought I was doing the right thing, putting in her Pre-K at that time, or should I wait a year? She assured me she would be fine, just like everyone else did. Most of them said that I was just comparing her to her brother, who always seemed to be ahead of everybody at everything.
So she started Pre-K just days after her 4th birthday. There were a couple hiccups the first couple weeks, but then she seemed to settle in great. That nagging worry left me. Then halfway through the year, her regular teacher was pulled to some student teaching assignment for several months, and our daughter was stuck with a horrible substitute teacher. A sub who seemed bent on making Diva out to be an enormous problem child, and she couldn’t teach worth a damn. The regular teacher came back in late April, but in my opinion, my daughter got a really crap introduction to school.
When she started Kindergarten in our hometown, we already knew we would be moving after the school year started. It was something we desperately tried to avoid, but the powers that be couldn’t make things easy for us, I guess. The teacher she was assigned to was awful. This was her first year teaching Kindergarten, and she was coming from 3rd grade. She spent more time writing nasty notes home about what trivial thing our child had done that day and calling me on the phone at work (in front of Diva to make a point to her that she could talk to her mama anytime she wanted to) than actually teaching her something. And every time she called me, she sounded so condescending towards ME, I could only imagine what she sounded like to my daughter. I finally got fed up with it and wrote the teacher a long email explaining that we were moving soon, her dad was living away from us during the week, and the kids were having trouble adjusting to that. In no way was I condoning any bad behavior, I was just trying to let her know what might be a cause of it.
The nasty notes home and the condescending phone calls stopped. I assumed that the teacher had taken what I’d said to heart and was trying not to nitpick Diva to death. This was back in August and September…I only just found out a couple weeks ago by accident that several times when her teacher couldn’t get her to do her work or she was acting up, they sent her to JB’s cousin’s classroom to “help” her with stuff. So when I thought things were going better, they really weren’t…they just weren’t telling me anymore.
I have said it before, this new school that the kids are going to is head and shoulders above the school they came from. Diva started out behind from the get go, because they were doing things here with reading and sight words that our old school wouldn’t have even started until end of Kindergarten/beginning of first grade.
I can’t say that I was all that terribly surprised when they mentioned possible retention to us. I knew she was struggling, no matter what I did to help her. They assured us that they were trying to get her into a Tiers program to really focus on her problem areas, and then we would see how things were with the next report card.
Report cards came home yesterday. My husband read it, I looked over his shoulder. I had tears in my eyes the whole time. I am happy to say that the majority of the areas that she got “Needs Improvement” or “Progressing” in last time, this time she got “Meets”. The note on the back from the teacher said that Diva was definitely improving and that she was proud of her, but she was still having a few problems (mostly behavioral) that we needed to work on. I don’t know if it’s enough of an improvement to get her into first grade next year, but it’s a start. I’ll take it.