Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conference

Apparently those are whiskers and not a big, hideous spider

I participated in my first parent-teacher conference Tuesday afternoon. As I sat on the wee molded plastic chair outside the classroom and waited for the 4K teacher, I looked at all the painted apple projects on the wall and noticed that my child's was downright unremarkable. Just a sea of red paint arranged in a vaguely circular shape. "Underachiever," I muttered under my breath.

A few minutes later, it was my turn. I felt oddly nervous, as this was the first time I've ever received feedback about my child from a (mostly) objective source. A's been at Kindercare since she was three but I pay them to take care of her so it's not quite the same. First, Mrs. M showed me a self-portrait my daughter had created in class. The marker drawing was of a purple and red stick figure with four appendages coming straight out of her head. No torso. This signifies a bit of a regression, because she had actually begun adding more body parts to her drawings earlier this year. The teacher informed me that the class is currently doing a learning unit on what all the body parts do (well, good God, not ALL of them I hope) so that the children will have a greater awareness about their bodies and how they are assembled. And a spine is predicted to follow in the drawings, I guess.

Mrs. M then showed me a project where the kids had to color three apples (each in a different color: red, yellow, and green). Then they had to glue a series of same-colored construction paper apples next to the colored apple. The first row had red apples all the way across the page. Splendid! She did okay until she got to the third row, where the apples were green green green green red. "She got a little carried away," A's teacher told me with a reassuring smile. She said something about these items "going in your daughter's portfolio." Portfolio? Is that sort of like, "This will go down . . . ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD"? I was imagining some college admissions officer in 14 years pulling out the portfolio and saying, "Now about this apple incident . . . "

During the conference I didn't hear the "g" word once, though I'm convinced the teacher may just be contractually prohibited from telling me how superior my child is. I did hear a few other phrases like "very social" and "likes to do her own thing on her own schedule." I nodded along. All true, all true. Then she said something like, "she knows a lot about a lot of things" which either translates to "your child is a genius" or "your child won't stop talking." Either would actually be accurate.

Overall, I'd say the conference went well. I did mention to A's teacher that my daughter was adopted, only because the kid likes to bust out with "I was in J's tummy!" in odd settings from time to time and I didn't want her teacher to be caught off guard. I am also acutely aware of the danger of spoiling my daughter, thereby making it more difficult for teachers and other adults to deal with her. When you try for seven years to become a mom and it finally happens, it is very tempting indeed to give your little dream-come-true anything she wants. We do discipline her, but there is virtually no consequence she isn't willing to take in order to carry out her own agenda. What can I say, she's feisty.

3 comments:

Kalinda said...

Ohhh your A sounds so much like my A! We've got his pre-k parent-teacher conference next Thursday. I can't wait to hear what his teachers have to say!! I love keeping up with A as she grows. Thanks for sharing!!

greedygrace said...

Maybe it has to do with children named A.... My A is, ummm, very... "spirited!"

Beth said...

Okay, I only "know" you online but I am not the least bit surprised that you have a feisty daughter! Seems that, birthed of you or not, the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree!

As a former early childhood teacher, I'll assure you that her feisty personality will serve her well throughout life. It's a challenge in parenting, though.