Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Red Cups and Parent Teacher Conferences

Warning, Long Post Ahead!

As any mother can attest, one of the things that breaks your heart the most is when your child is hurt or sad or cries and there is nothing you can do about it. There have been a few times when Devyn is hungry and we are in the car and can’t feed her right away so she starts this cry of desperation. It breaks my heart even though I know we will be home or to a place where we can feed her in just a few minutes. Every time this has happened I have thought of all those children around the world that don’t have enough food to eat and how heartbreaking that must be for their mothers to not be able to do anything about it.

Well, I happened to be home a little early yesterday due to Ari’s parent teacher conference (more on that later) and I caught a few minutes of Oprah. I love Oprah. I don’t really agree with a lot of her politics, but I love her show. I think she does a lot of good with the amazing platform she stands on. So anyway, Drew Barrymore was on yesterday. Drew is an ambassador for the UN’s World Food Program and a campaign called "Fill the Cup". The kids get these red cups that they bring with them to school and they fill them up with rice porridge or beans. On the show Drew gave $1 million to the World Food Program. Now I don’t have even close to a million dollars to give, but they said that just $50 feeds one child for a whole year. I can afford $50 a year, and you can even give in monthly installments. Isn’t that great? I know that we have poverty at home in our country, but if just over $4 a month can feed a child that would otherwise go hungry then by all means I’m going to do it. It’s really simple too…you can just say how much you want to give ($5 minimum) and how many recurring payments you want to make (you can choose monthly, quarterly or annually) and some child gets a full red cup.

Now on to the parent teacher conferences

(This picture has nothing to do with PTC, but it's a picture of Ari with the Spring blossoms since the post is about her)

I hate parent teacher conferences. I really don’t hate them, but I feel like I’m the child been called in for doing something wrong. Does anyone else feel like this or is it just me? For example, last parent teacher conference the teacher said that Ari could use some help with her multiplication facts and would benefit from extra practice. Of course the dutiful, caring and involved parents that we are went right out and bought the special three corner flashcards that her teacher recommended and we were all gung ho about doing them at first. Do you think I even know where those flashcards are now? Of course the teacher didn’t ask me if we bought the special flashcards or if we’d been using them for the last three months, but I know that I haven’t and I felt guilty when yet again at this conference the teacher said “Ari would benefit from extra practice on her multiplication facts.” With all that being said, I do love going and talking to her teacher and finding out how she is doing in school. I love her teacher this year too! He is very helpful and really tries to find the strengths of each child and encourages what they are good at.

Ari’s strength? Reading…she’s amazing! Her teacher said she reads at above high school levels and she is in fourth grade. She’s in the highest literature circle group and her comprehension is impeccable.

Ari’s weakness? Well no surprise here…it’s the same thing that we’ve been told since she started kindergarten five years ago. We get comments like: Ari is very social. Ari likes to talk. Ari has a hard time staying on task because she is so busy chatting with her neighbor. Ari has trouble getting her work done in class because she doesn’t stay focused on the task. Ari has trouble staying in her seat. It’s all a focus issue. None of this is new info for us, but it’s definitely a struggle for me. I was always the quiet girl in class that would only talk if called upon. If the teacher had to switch my seat because I was being disruptive I would have been devastated. Ari’s science teacher said (at Ari’s school starting in 4th grade they have a separate science teacher) that she had to have Ari sit at a table by her self the other day because she was chatting so much with the kids around her. But nothing phases Ari. The teacher said that for most kids, making them sit at there own table is a wake-up call because they don’t want to have to do that again, but Ari marched right into science the next day and said “do you want me to sit at that table again” like it was no big deal. Oh what to, do what to do?

We know this is a struggle for her and we even had her tested for ADHD, which the doctor said she was borderline and we could have her medicated if we wanted to. I know that medication is right for some kids, but I also feel that we are over medicated in our society and with Ari I don’t think she’s so bad that we can’t try other options first. We have chosen not to go the medicine route for now and we’ll just try and help her figure out other ways to deal it.

Needless to say with this focus issue it leads to late or not turned in homework so her grades aren’t as good as they could be. We make sure her homework is done at home, but whether it ever makes it to her teacher is another story. Her teacher said she is an extremely smart child and should never, not even in high school, get less than As or Bs because she is mentally capable of getting them. She may regret that he ever said that because we will be expecting that for her whole elementary and secondary school career! Don’t get me wrong she did get mostly As and a few Bs with one C+, but if she’s capable of more, then you better believe I expect more.
As for me, I vow to do better for the next parent teacher conference so I can go without feelings of guilt as to what I could have done to help my child more. I’m sure I’ll find some reason to feel guilty next time, but for now at least, I’m going to try!

1 comment:

The Proud Grandparents said...

The tree is full bloom is beautiful but the little girl underneath the tree is the most beautiful blossom.

Know what you mean about parent-teacher conferences; some are okay other are more challenging. Just one of the things we have to do as a parent.