Most regular Radical readers know that my daughter is my entire world.
She’s beautiful and funny and curious and smart. She’s into science museums and camping trips and climbing trees. She digs reading graphic novels and playing with her cats and learning new jokes that she can tell her family and friends.
But she’s never done terribly well in school.
A part of that is because she’s younger than darn near everyone in her class. That means she’s always in the lowest reading group and her spelling is atrocious. She’s just not in the same place developmentally as everyone else in her class — and that makes her feel like a failure sometimes. Confidence is definitely a challenge for her in the classroom.
And she can be a complete pistol when she wants to be. She’s got a strong personality that rubs both teachers and students the wrong way.
The result: I’ve been called by teachers and guidance counselors and principals again and again over the last several years — all with negative reports about something that my kid has done.
And believe me: I’ve heard it all.
“Your daughter won’t sing the morning song.”
“Your daughter isn’t sitting criss-cross applesauce in circle time.”
“Your daughter blurts out frequently in class.”
“Your daughter is playing with toys inside of her desk during class.”
“Your daughter’s cubby is dirty.”
“Your daughter is saying mean things to friends.”
“Your daughter slapped another child on the playground.”
“Your daughter wouldn’t share a paper with her group mates.”
“Your daughter was writing on the walls in the bathroom.”
“Your daughter didn’t work hard on her test.”
“Your daughter won’t cooperate with me when I ask her to do things in class.”
That’s why I cringed a bit when I got an email from her teacher a few weeks back saying that he wanted to talk to me about something that happened in class.
I just knew that I was in for more of the same — and to be honest, I was sick of it. How many times can you hear negatives about your kid from the teachers in her school before reaching a breaking point?
And this time, the negative was a doozie: My kid called a classmate a word that rhymes with “itch.”
(Nope. Not ditch. Not witch. Not even Golden Snitch. The OTHER word that rhymes with itch.)
So I asked her teacher — who I trust completely because he started the year by telling me that he knew all about Reece and had given “a few fist bumps” when he saw her on his classroom roster — how seriously I should take the situation.
His response was PERFECT: “Well, if I wanted to, I could give you a list of a thousand things that Reece has done right this year and this is the first thing that she’s done wrong. So is it serious? Sure. But the good in your kid far outweighs this one mistake.”
He’s right, isn’t he.
That’s worth remembering: The good in our students FAR outweighs the mistakes that they make.
And let’s make sure THEY know that.
(And what the heck: Let’s communicate it to their parents as well!)
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