I have always dreaded going to Parent-Teacher conferences….
It all started when Cody was in Kindergarten and told his teacher that “my mommy listens to music about the devil,”, when realllly it was JUST A COUNTRY SONG that happened to be on the radio. I found out quickly that you just can’t joke about things like that at a Southern Baptist School. Heh.
From first grade on we heard that Cody had potential but lacked motivation. More than one school wanted to put him in a gifted and talented program. He never did make it into those programs, he was busy jumping off of window ledges or refusing to wear a winter coat because he was “mastering the cold.”. My personal favorite was the time a teacher grew tired of Cody bringing a book to class and reading instead of paying attention. The teacher decided to let him read the book and at the end of the hour she planned to embarrass him by asking him questions about her lesson, except it backfired because he knew every
goddamn blessed answer.
Do you see what I’m working with?
Most conferences ended with me in the car, crying, and then going home to have a stiff drink.
Carsten’s conferences were frustrating for a different reason. She had plenty of motivation, but lacked the ability to really grasp a lot of the lessons and concepts. She was diagnosed with ADD and we tried different medicines for the next 3 years. She would improve slowly, with a lot of hard work. Her teachers worked hard, she worked hard, we worked hard at home… it was all so frustrating for everyone, especially Carsten. She thought she was bad at math, her confidence suffered. At the end of last year our family doctor said, you know what? I think she has anxiety and not ADD.
So, we found a Psychologist specializing in Childhood anxiety and did more hard work. My (wonderful. patient. AWESOME.) sister gave us additional strategies to try and slowly she started getting better. Then, after a summer panic attack we decided it was time to try medication.
It was like you flipped a switch.
Carsten seemed so relieved to not have all those things to worry about anymore. She went from a kid afraid to be in the house alone to the most confident kid I know. From a kid with paralyzing anxiety about starting middle school to a kid that describes her days as “FANTABULOUS” and can’t wait to get back to school.
Still, I was nervous about conferences rolling around. I purposely didn’t look at progress reports before I went in…. because that usually makes me not want to go!
What happened was nothing short of a miracle. Every teacher had only positive things to say. Carsten is getting A’s and B’s. She tries so hard and has stayed really organized. Her Math teacher described her as bright and said she was good at Math. GOOD AT MATH, PEOPLE!!!
She went from struggling with one page of homework (sometimes it would take us 2 hours) to a kid that gets A’s on her Math tests and does her homework BY HERSELF.
Hands down, Carsten’s best conferences EVER. I found myself choked up again, but this time it was because I was so happy.
Not to take anything away from Cody, his grades are higher than they have been in years and he has taken responsibility for his actions this year. He is turning in his work (on time!!), seems to have given up his philosophy of not doing anything and then getting A’s on test and hoping it averages out and he doing really REALLY well. This despite the fact that he has already been accepted to the college he wants to attend.
I am a super proud Mom today. It is a good day.