Well we survived the three way conferences at school but they didn’t pan out the way that we had hoped. In fact, I walked out feeling annoyed at myself for playing the game. It was apparent quite early in the 15 minutes we had allocated that this wasn’t the time or place to discuss boy-child’s fit in the classroom. I felt like we were being talked at and not too. Any positive comments were hidden in negatives and boy-child spent most of the time nervously picking at his hands or the edge of the table whilst he was being grilled. It was as if he was sitting in an interrogation room.
I guess it is important to note that I felt even more intimidated in the classroom than I expected. Boy-child’s key teacher is loud and abrasive even when she is just talking, her co-teacher even appeared intimidated by her. We did discuss a few strategies to help him in the classroom but essentially both man-child and I walked out after the conference thinking that he won’t be any more supported. I got the overwhelming feeling that this class will show him how to conform and be fitted neatly into a tidy little package rather than develop who he really is. Even during the conference boy-child was told that he needed to play the game, to just do what he had to do in class even if he didn’t like it. I was looking more for discussion about how to get him excited about doing classwork. Hell I would even be happy if his motivation for doing classwork would be less time to do fun things but there appears to be no consequence of not doing work. Sure he got a crappy grade but realistically, what kind of motivation is a crappy grade for an 8 year old?
I am disappointed in my lack of participation throughout the conference other than supporting boy-child. I would like to think that it was because I could see that it wasn’t the best time to talk and not because I didn’t have the balls. Ideally we need to meet with the teachers again to talk about strategies that we can research and test to get him more motivated in the classroom. This would be best done when the teachers can have more time to prepare specifically for us and our needs and not on churning through every student in the class in a day. In the meantime we will do some research into ways that we can best support boy-child in his learning without piling too much pressure on him. Despite what his report says, I know he is an intelligent boy with no motivation to participate. I think he will learn more out of the classroom this year than he will learn in the classroom.
I really don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on the lack of resolution from the conference only to say that I didn’t find the experience or the classroom environment very positive. Fortunately it was the polar opposite when we walked into the conference for girl-child. Her teacher was so positive about the classroom environment and actually listened to what we had to say. She even picked up on the subtleties of the conversation when we were discussing areas of improvement she was able to suggest areas that boy-child can support her learning. He wasn’t a part of the conversation but it was important for girl-child to know that her brother is intelligent and articulate and can support her at school too.
I feel that girl-child would survive and even thrive in almost any classroom environment, she is a people pleaser and is able to please people because she has a desire to learn and grow without constant encouragement. Boy-child on the other hand needs to be in an environment that inspires him, that makes him want to learn again. I hope that we can help him find some passion to want to learn again, I don’t want him to survive just by playing the game, I don’t enjoy just playing the game and he can’t enjoy it either.