On Tuesday afternoon we had parent teacher interviews.
Somehow I missed the memo, so it was a last minute booking which meant I was unable to coordinate times with two teachers. Taylah had just got her NAPLAN results back, and there was no cause for concern there, so I decided to skip her teacher and just meet with Bridie’s,
As opposed to Taylah, when it comes to Bridie I have had my concerns. It’s not that she is stupid, but she just hasn’t taken to academics the way Taylah did. And I know that we are not supposed to compare our kids, but when all you know is a duck taking to water, a duck that doesn’t like getting wet is sightly alarming.
And I also know that you are not supposed to compare your kids to others, and mostly schools try to stop parents (and students) doing this. Instead of putting them in levels based on achievement, they are put in colours, so unless you are a parent helping in the class, you really have no idea of the significance of the blue group or the red group.
Well Bridie is in the red group, and I know enough to know that it is at the tail end of the colour spectrum, so to speak, if not the very bottom.
This has been hard for me to deal with, because Bridie is not stupid. She is very thoughtful, and very logical. I’ve just had to accept that perhaps academics isn’t her thing.
And that’s ok.
Enter the interview, and I was gladly surprised. A few weeks ago all the students underwent testing that measures their knowledge base on their age. Now, as the teacher pointed out, ‘Bridie may be at the tail end of the class, but she is also a lot younger.’ (She is the youngest and some of the kids are 12-18months older than her.) Her results showed that for her age, she is not struggling. In fact she is doing really well. She is in about the 88th percentile for literacy and the the 79th for Numeracy.
Nothing wrong with that.
I then asked the teacher if there was anything she really excelled at, that I could encourage her with when she became despondent, over not being as clever as the others. It took her a little while to think, and she said, very honestly, ‘nothing fine motor, but she does always try, even when she thinks it’s going to be hard. She is quiet and obedient, and always does what she is asked straight away. Oh, and she does a beautiful job of stacking the cushions.’
It wasn’t what I went in there hoping for, but when I came out of there it was better. She may not be the smartest kid or the brightest, but her character shines through. Perseverance and obedience, and making sure it’s done right. These are all things I emphasise at home, and honestly, don’t see a lot of. But the teacher does, so at least something is sinking in.
Daisy wrote a beautiful post about what’s average a few months back. We parents always want our kids to be above average; we want them to be the brightest, and cleverest and fastest. But what about being the kindest? Or the most hard working or obedient? What good is know the alphabet if you don’t have the self control to sit on the mat and listen to the teacher?
There are so many more things that are just as (if not more) important than academics, but these are the things we generally settle for ‘average’ in. “So and so’s kids don’t listen, so it doesn’t make my kids bad cause they don’t.” We settle for less than the best every day, usually because our focus is on the wrong thing.
After that interview I could honestly say I wouldn’t have minded if they said she couldn’t read or write at all, so long as she practices compassion, obedience and self control.
Now obviously she is not perfect; far from it. But we are getting there. Slowly, surely, and most importantly, deliberately. She is growing into a beautiful person on the inside and out, and in my mind, this makes her so much more than average.
And just quickly, while talking about average’s, when I first started blogging, I read a post on Digital Parents about how the ‘average’ mummy blogger gets about 3500-5000 page views in a month. At the time I was getting about 400, and any more seemed impossible.
So it’s with great excitement, I can tell you that for the month of September, I have had 5381 page views!
Average never felt better.