Friday, December 9, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences Translated

My Kamrin is something else. He really doesn't fit into your "normal" barely 5-year-old category. And I kinda like it that way. He's outside the box, and frankly, hard to understand if you're not with him ALL the time, which I am. Or his mother, which I also am (even though I've been tempted to deny it). He's the boy whose food preferences are more adult than his peers, he picks the pepperoni off his pizza, but will fight his dad for the banana peppers. He asks for salads and steamed broccoli. During conversations with him, I feel like he is constantly processing everything around him and even the things that aren't, easily bouncing from one subject to another.

Anyway, a lot of his "quirks" can be interpreted has being a hard to handle boy, and I was slightly nervous when parent/teacher conferences rolled around in November. Did I mention that he attends Pre-K at a Christian school? It was one of the only full-time Pre-K classes available in town, and I was positive that the teachers there would be more patient with him as I am sure they feel they are held accountable by a higher power than just the principal.

I arrived at the school about 10 minutes early. I was the last parent slotted for the day, and I knew, that like a doctor's office, everything by the end of the day would probably be running late. So I settled in the dollhouse-sized furniture situated outside the classroom. On the table were several handmade books of the children's drawings. I flipped through each, each containing its own theme and was relieved to see that most of Kamrin's drawings related to the subjects at hand, even if there was the occasional bomb-throwing or gun toting stick figure in there. Hey, at least he was giving it a shot, you can't put limits on creative genius.

Across from me, on another miniature table, sat a laptop playing a slide show of candid photos that had been taken during the year thus far. In pretty much every single picture that Kam was in, he was making a goofy face. Yep. Have the same problem with my photos of him.

At that moment, his teacher stepped out to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries. "So," she began as she escorted me through the door, "let's talk about our special Kamrin." The defense walls shot up. What was that supposed to mean? I looked for any indication of malice or frustration in her face and saw none. She motioned me to sit in yet another teeny chair at another tiny table. She looked for his "file." She brought out his folder, and handed me his report card.

We started in. She lead with the good stuff;
She said: he was able to count to nearly 20, even though they had only covered 1-7.
I heard: Possible mathematical genius.

She said: He was able to identify over 90% of his capital letters, yet only 5-6 of the lower case ones.
I heard: Capital letters look much different from each other than lower case letters. All the lower case ones were basically loop and line variations, right?

We moved on to the areas that could use improvement.
She said: He had a hard time moving from one task to another.
I heard: He wanted to finished what he started. He was focused.

She said: He sometimes had a hard time paying attention to the task at hand, that you could see the wheels turning in his head.
I heard: He's a thinker. Constantly trying to solve the world's problems in his head, who has time to worry about drawing a line to match the mouse with the "M"?

She said: He can at times be overly concerned about how well others are doing...
I heard: Born leader...
She said: ...and it has caused some disputes, particularly with one other student.
I heard: He's not afraid to stand up for himself.

She said: He holds his pencil correctly and cuts very well for his age, although he tends to rush through his projects, only to flip them over to draw on the backside.
I heard: Picasso

She said: He is very helpful and has a special friend named Paige and that get along marvelously.
I heard: Ladies man.

She said: She put an "X" by 'writes own name' on nearly everyone's card because the first letter needs to be all the way to the top line, while lower case need to be under dotted line.
I heard: Stupid rule, blah, blah, blah.
He writes his own name. He just thinks outside the box (or lines).

She said: His biggest obstacle to overcome was going to be the fact that when he is scolded, or corrected, his first response is tears.
I heard: He's a guy in touch with sensitive side.

She said: He has a wonderful sense of humor, is curious about everything, and once he matures a bit (refer to previous statement), he could do anything he sets his mind to.
I heard: He has a wonderful sense of humor and can do anything he sets his mind to.

Overall, not a bad conference. Not bad at all.


  1. Your posts are always so warm, I look forward to them. I agree with your interpretation of the feedback you've received - Kamrin is obviously special.

  2. I agree that writing within those lines is a dumb rule. Just give him your keyboard. That's all he needs. ;)

  3. Kamrin is in PreK? He"s writing his name! That's marvelous. Kids at this developmental stage have their letters all over the place. They are the right ones for his name...and they will fall into their proper places. And the fact that none of the kids are able to perform the way the teacher demands ought to be a tip-off.

    Wow -- high standards at this school.

  4. @FruitCake - Thank you. Sometimes we hear what we want to hear.

    @Kimberly - I'm pretty sure that's where we're headed.

    @Frume Sarah - I know! I totally agree. The school is a great school with wonderful patient teachers, but I'm pretty sure the lines shouldn't be such a big deal.