I posted a while ago about my son Willem's report card and how disappointed I was with it. Not because the marks were necessarily THAT bad, but because I didn't think they reflected his ability or understanding of the curriculum. And ever since, it's been grating on me. I've not had a chance to talk to his teacher about it because, well... first came the student-led parent/teacher conferences, which of course are not conducive to that kind of thing. Then came spring break and unfortunately now, she's out of town on a family emergency.
Here's the thing about me when I'm not eating all the time. I get grouchy. Yes, it's entirely possible that I may be going through food withdrawal right now. This happened to me the last time I went on Weight Watchers too, but that's another story for another time.
The point is, 3 weeks of being frustrated about a crappy and unfair report card + no real chance to deal with it + some interesting words from Will's therapist + no emotional eating + him being his own smart self = one frustrated mommy.
So, I talked to the principal today. And we talked and talked and talked. My kids' very busy principal spent 1 1/2 hours talking to me about my concerns. Because she's a great lady and because she had some of the same concerns.
I told her my latest story that I may well be over telling but I think that it's a good example of what we're dealing with:
On Good Friday, we were hanging out with some of my family. My brother asked Will what the square root of 4 was. Will guessed 2 and we all kind of looked at each other, but he was guessing. He asked what a square root was, so then we explained it to him. "Oh," he said. "So that means the square root of 9 is 3 and the square root of 100 is 10!" You should have heard the excitement and pride in his voice.
Let's not forget, he's 7. He's in grade 2. And his teacher gave him a 3/5 on his report card in math because he's tired of doing single digit addition and subtraction. Stuff that is his words, "baby stuff".
He is so smart and he is SO excited about learning. On the back of a science worksheet the other day, he drew a picture at the molecular level of what they were learning about. And then labelled it. But we're going to lose him if something doesn't change soon. I hate that he goes to school to turn his brain off.
Now, I understand that the label "gifted" is something to be coveted and some people are wondering why I'm whining so much. Lots of parents want a gifted child. When we were first told that he tested gifted, we were so excited. Visions of easy school years and a famous scientist son floated around in our minds. But it's not the case. We have a smart kid, who loves learning, ya. But we also have a child who struggles socially, hates repetition and being bored, turns his brain off when he doesn't see the point (which is almost all the time at school), has a hard time falling asleep and is now developing anxiety complete with facial and voice ticks.
And he's not thriving.
The result of my little chat with the principal? We'll be having a meeting with his teacher on Monday to hopefully resolve some of these problems. Then she told me that this will be the fight I will have to fight year, after year, after year. And that unfortunately, she won't always be there to help. Which is a shame, because I know how crucial the principal's support can be.
And then, she handed me a pamphlet and asked me if I'd consider running to become a school board trustee. (Pick jaw up off the floor here) I'm the first parent she's ever asked to consider it. I'm honored, but can't quite get the vision of a bunch of crotchety old men sitting around a table out of me head.
And that - today - is what happened when I got grouchy.