Thursday, November 03, 2011

First Grade

We had parent teacher conferences at Harper's school tonight. And I don't know what to think about how our conference went.

I will say this, Harper's teacher this year definitely knows Harper better than any teacher she's ever had. And her teacher is willing and able to work hard to meet Harper where her needs are, which is awesome. All of this is good.

She also called Harper out on all the things she does that drive us crazy at home - being bossy, wanting to do things only her way, be so confident that she's inadvertently hurting others' feelings... I don't think she's a big problem child in the classroom. I do think she's going to have an adjustment period with Mrs. B who is going to hold her to a higher standard of behavior and really push her academically as well.

I think this year, even more than in the past, some of Harper's less admirable traits are coming forward in school and that's frustrating because of course I want her to show her best self to the world.

Don't get me wrong - I feel like Harper's teacher appreciates her and enjoys teaching her. Our conference was mostly positive. But there is a small part of me that worries that I have failed her in some way. Yes, the academic stuff is important, but I just want her to be a kind person - if I can't teach her that I think I've missed a critical part of what this mom gig is all about.

(It's also possible that I'm having an overly emotional response to all of this because I have been up too late every night this week.)


bluedaisy said...

I think it's just hard to hear that about your child- even though you don't disagree. But maybe it's a sign that Harper is really comfortable in school, willing to reveal different parts of herself? And in the process, she gets to learn what will fly socially and what isn't going to work. A tough process for sure- but what an awesome teacher who is looking at your child's growth from different angles. All that being said, I'd be emotional about it too! Our conferences are later in the month- I'll let you know ;)

Giselle said...

She's an intelligent, confident, first-born? Is that what I read in the "bossy, wanting to do things her way"?

I think it is great that her teacher is open and honest with you about her behavior in class. But I don't think it would be easy to hear...even though they are minor things.

I am confident that Harper will find her way to be intelligent, confident, and not too bossy or hurtful. She is only in 1st grade, right? And she has a wonderful example of how to do that right at home. At least you know what to talk to her about, right?

Chris said...

You know what, Kelsey? Mrs. B told you everything you admit to already knowing, so you in fact, have not failed! We all know how kind and gentle Harper can be. We also know that first graders, of all people, cannot be that way all of the time. None of us can. Her other attributes, the ones that might be a little overwhelming at times, will even themselves out eventually, and can also be assets later on. You and Matt are great parents! And remember, we got a PHONE CALL AT HOME, saying our kid had his HANDS AROUND ANOTHER KID'S NECK. Think of that when you get a little anxious :)

Swistle said...

Oh, I would be feeling emotional about it, too! I don't know why it's hard to hear from a teacher the things I ALREADY KNOW, but it JUST IS. It's partly, I think, that I'm always hoping that the behaviors I see are only at home (like how teachers often say that the children are better behaved at school, or that they act out at home where they feel comfortable, or whatever). And part of it is that I'm worried the teacher is kind of blaming me for the behavior, even though EVERY human being has weak spots. And part of it is that I'm worried the teacher expects me to FIX the issue---even though, again, EVERY human being has weak spots. And part of it is that I'm worried the issues are not just regular human-weakness issues but are in fact HARBINGERS OF TERRIBLE PROBLEMS TO COME. And part of it is that in such situations I never know what to say, and so I usually have Things I Did Say to regret.

Mommy Daisy said...

You can't change what personality traits your child has. I think it will even out as she ages. When she gets older, she'll learn to use her personality in a good way. As for parenting, you just encourage the good things and explain why the bad things are causing problems. She'll be fine, you'll see.

Emily said...

I know what you mean - I feel like I am just hoping that the teacher will only ever have 100% positive things to say. But that realistic? But it's really hard to hear anything beyond "I absolutely love having her in class and she's the smartest kid here!"
Also, from yesterday's post...I'm having a vague recollection of a story called the Paper Bag Princess from childhood. Is that it?

Pam said...

Isn't it funny - we want them to be confident and strong but not too bossy or headstrong. I guess worrying comes with the territory. From the years I've been reading your blog I have always been entertained by her sense of humour and great intelligence. You're doing a great job!

Kate said...

Kelsey-- I totally know what you mean. We invest so much effort and worry into our kids, trying so hard to make them the best that they can be and it's hard when other people notice they aren't perfect. (Some of us can hide our kids' traits more easily than others. *smile*)

What I've learned so far from Colin's conferences is that First Grade is a hard year for the kids because they are learning how school works. Each kid has their own issues--some social, some academic, some both.

This is the first year where I haven't felt judged on my parenting abilities because of his behavior. And you know what? Harper and Colin are going to be fine because they both have Mommies that love them to bits and teachers that are going to push them to grow. Chin up!

CARRIE said...

Sometimes I think the hardest thing is just accepting within oneself that there just may be some things about our kids that we simply don't like. And it has absolutely nothing to do with us and how we raised them. It might be a stage. It might be the situation. It might just be their innate way.

I try to remind myself that I will not always like my child at any given moment and there may be some attributes of my children I will never like much.

I'd blame your emotional response to the sleep deprivation. (That is my excuse for everything.)