Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Follow-up to teacher conferences

I'm reading: Follow-up to teacher conferencesTweet this!

Remember my fabulous advice about staying calm when advocating for your child?
I ignored it.
I didn't turn the conference into a monologue, but I was not as cool as I should have been. I was baited and I went after the bait. The conversation was not what it should have been and in a sign of totally maturity I admit it was not all my fault.
I've written about five conference follow-up notes, all in my mind. I ran the letter I intended to send by DH first and he told me it was too long.
Oh, but I have so much to say!
His point is well-taken, though.

What I want to say:

Giftedness exists on a continuum like, say, autism. You've got gifted (top 3%), highly gifted (HG)(top 1%) and profoundly gifted (PG) (top 0.1%).

A PG child
is as different from a gifted child as a gifted child is from the general population.

PG kids
tend to be a bit quirky compared to their age-grade peers.

A gifted
student is not the same thing as a bright student.

When I tell you my kid is gifted, I'm not saying that to stress that he's freakin' brilliant (even if he is, though he does not bother to do more than the minimum in your class because he is bored--ah, the b-word, cannot use the b-word when talking to teachers/school administrators) I'm telling you my kid is gifted because he has a unique set of social and emotional, as well as academic needs that differ from most of his age-grade peers. He needs your understanding and attention.

And on that note, would it be too much to ask for you to learn my kid's name? It's December, already!

DH is right. There's too much even for one blog post. To be continued....

On a more cheerful note, stop by my new review blog to win a super-cool rocket pass football.


InTheFastLane said...

Ohh...I hear you. My 3rd grader rushes through everything does not take time to read the instructions and does not ever want to do more. A b- on a math test doesn't bother him, because he "knows how to do it, so why do we care about the grade." Grrr...At least his teachers know his name, however, that seems to be a big issue.

WkSocMom said...

Oh I feel for you. I haven't had this experience or anything, but can feel your frustration. Good luck, and appreciate your advice. I don't think my child is gifted necessarily, but he is bored (that is, every day he says he's bored and is not learning anything new), and I was happy to hear the teacher actually came up with an extra project for a handful of kids who need more challenges. Of course I didn't hear about this until the last 30 seconds of the conference when I finally had the chance to convey my only concern. They have to spend so much time (this is 1st grade) telling us all his levels and performance, etc when I want to know if he's making friends and having fun, since he sure doesn't tell us those things.

Michelle said...

I totally agree with your post, and I can't wait to read the rest of it. But then again, I teach gifted kids and am frequently faced with many of those same assumptions. Not knowing your child's name...OMG!

SwitchedOnMom said...

You know, maybe it's that I'm now advocating for child number two, maybe it's that I'm getting older lol, but I've decided I'm not going to be as "nice" this time 'round. I'm going to be more direct. Because life is short and my kid gets to do this once while the school system can continue to spin its wheels ad infinitum. For example, this evening I put it right out there in an email to the counselor, in black and white font:is there any way that dd's schedule could be rearranged to place her in a class/more classes with other students who have similar high achievement?"

So, don't feel to sorry. And say what you want to say. All true your points on giftedness are true.

Kim Moldofsky said...

First, I must clarify. It's not that the teacher doesn't know who he is, it's that she calls him by his little brother's name. My older boy already feels somewhat invisible and the name issue cannot be helping the situation.

InTheFastLane- that sounds like my younger one. He's been in a hurry his whole life. When he was about 2 he had a terrible stutter because his brain was going so much faster than his little mouth could manage. Ever since then we've been hearing "slooow down" from his teachers. I'll write more about that.

WkSocMom- making friends and having fun is a big issue for us, too. It's too bad the teacher didn't follow your lead. I'm sure you can read report cards and score reports without her help, but you can't find out about your son's day-to-day experiences from such things.

Thanks Michelle. There will be more, I promise. Yeah for you for teaching gifted kids!

SwitchedOnMom- I'm so glad you red this. I was thinking of you and what I've read on your blog and, well, frankly it was depressing me! Is this the routine until my kid gets to high school? At the same time, I was comforted by the fact that I am not alone in my struggles. I'm so glad you are blogging.

laughingatchaos said...

I held off reading this post until now because I knew I'd need brain time to process it. I had just worked up the mental energy to start advocating for A...and found out that the school is hiring a new 2nd grade teacher (hallelujah! there are 35 kids in his class) and A is losing his favorite teacher ever. After the Big Meeting last week, I came home and lost it. Because not only was this big change coming that A was not going to handle well, but because, for the first time since he started school I realized I wasn't hearing "I'm bored." I'm afraid he's given up and is now just playing the game. His recent report card would attest to that. So now, I gather strength and start to advocate. Wish me luck...though this is a GT focus school, I anticipate a bit of a battle here.

MoreThanMommy said...

Isn't it interesting that schools are required to do IEPs and provide extra support for kids who have delays, disabilities, etc., but not for kids who are gifted? Some kids need extra support and it certainly doesn't make sense to only help some of our kids reach their full potential. As someone who coasted in boredom through school (and then struggled later when I had to actually TRY to do something), stories like this always make me mad.