Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm a rare parent

I had  a parent-teacher conference with Luke's teacher this morning.  I always meet with the teachers after report cards.  Truth be told, it started out of necessity when Luke was in 1st grade.  He couldn't read, he couldn't keep up with the class work, he couldn't keep his hands to himself, etc. etc.  His teacher was ready to retire and had no patience for him.  It was a disaster, to say it mildly.

Since then, I have kept in close contact with his teachers.  It has been an uphill battle for Luke.  If you think of school as a swimming pool, he couldn't even tread water.  No chance for swimming. The water was always deeper than he was tall and someone tied weights around his ankles. 

He'd always sink.

If I am honest, I admit I blamed Russia.  If he hadn't been there for 3 years, with no one to love him, no one to help him.  He had no language skills.  No one read books to him.  No one sang to him, cuddled with him, did early educational things with him.

Those first 3 years have a lot of influence on the rest of your life, I'm told.  He didn't have that.  I grew bitter.  But then I had to let it go.  Had to.  We can blame our past for our current situation or we can pick ourselves up and figure out how we are going to change the future.

So I stay in close contact with his teachers.  I always expect some kind of miracle.  One of these days, he will become a genius.  Just kind of like a *poof* and the past is erased.  School won't be a struggle anymore.  He will not only tread water, but swim.  Like a fish.  Swim and swim and swim!

This year,  he is enjoying school.  WHAT?!?!  The tears at homework time are diminishing.  WHAT?!?!  This year, he is reading at grade level.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Never thought I'd see the day.

So at the conference this morning, his teacher told me he has no issues bothering other kids. He gets his work ready when she asks him to.  He is responsible.  He almost always remembers to take his homework home.  He still struggles some, yes.  But he is doing well overall!

She thanked me for what we are doing at home.  I told her, "We just want to support what you are doing and we want him to succeed in school."

Her response?

"You have no idea how rare of a parent you are.  Thank you."

Seriously?!?  I didn't think what I was doing was anything extraordinary.  I make sure he gets his homework done.  I help him study.  I help him with coping skills when he doesn't want to work anymore.  I remind him that he isn't the only one in 4th grade who has homework.  I encourage him to always work hard and do his best.

How is that rare?

School is tough.  It is a lot of work and not a lot of play.  The stuff they are learning in 4th grade - wow.  Unbelievable.  The teacher has him more hours of the day than I do.  (That stinks!)

But she is not the enemy.   She is a partner. 

Do I agree with all the things she does?  Probably not.  Do I enjoy all the homework?  Usually not.  But at the end of the day, she holds some of the keys to my kids' futures.  I respect the job she is doing and I want my kids to do the same.

If that defines me as rare, so be it.

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