Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Parent/ Teacher Conferences

Nick's parent/teacher conference was last week. I've volunteered in the classroom several times, so I knew the teacher and her assistant and already had a pretty good idea of where Nick stood in class.

Or so I thought.

In preschool and kindergarten, Nick was always at the top of his class in all the subjects they were learning at the time. Apparently, within the first few months of first grade, his reading level is no longer at the top of his class, but has dropped so far below grade level that the teacher recommended sending him to the special reading classes the school offers. Now, I have to admit I was a little taken aback. While I am not opposed to anything that will help him out, I just question the judgement of his teacher. At the conference, I had a few questions for her that she couldn't answer. I wasn't impressed. They have these math sheets that are all simple addition problems. But the kids are timed. They have two minutes to fill it out. Looking at Nick's work, I can see where he starts to get stressed out and just starts putting in numbers so he won't be left with an empty page. To me, this seems really silly. They're just learning this stuff. Do they really need to be timed? I asked the teacher what the benefit of this was. She stuttered around and little and then told me that she didn't really know. "It's just the way we always do it. " She lost all my confidence, right there.

I am going to put Nick in the special class and see if there is an improvement, because it can't hurt, but I doubt the necessity. She told me he is advanced in math and sciences but needs to work on his spelling. Which brings up another issue...when we go over the words at home, he can get every single one of them correct. Then he brings home his test and I find that he has missed nearly all of them. I can't figure that out, either. I wonder if he's just a bad test taker and what, if anything, can be done about it.

I have a feeling school is going to be harder than I thought.


Willoughby said...

I know exactly how you feel, I've been there myself. Both of my kids have had at least one non-impressive teacher over the years.

Try not to be too discouraged. You know Nick's strengths and weaknesses better than she ever will (she's dealing with 20+ kids every day, she can't possibly know all of them that well this early in the year).

I don't know if it will help Nick, but my son's reading improved greatly from using the computer. We would pick a subject that he was interested in and he would Google it, find a website and read about it. Afterward, we would sit and talk about it. He enjoyed using the computer so much that he didn't realise how much he was actually reading. We would still read books together, but I think he improved his reading by using the computer more than he did by reading books.

Homemaker Man said...

That sucks. Timed tests in 1st grade is absolutely ridiculous and counter-productive. They're just slanting everything towards standardized testing now. I believe it is your right to demand untimed tests for Nick. He is obviously developing test anxiety because of this dumb policy. If the school won't help you or meet your demands, find another one that will. At least here in MA, if the school is failing your child, you have a right to pull that child out and send him to another school. The bill to be paid for by the original school.

This kind of dumb shit really pisses me off. Go in with your guns blazing. Parents have way more pull than they often realize.

Bryna said...

Wow, test stress at such an early age?!?!! Ridiculous...

abby jenkins said...

What's next SATs before naptime?

Jeeze.... let the kids learn without all that pressure, they have plenty of time for that!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine the need for them to be timed. Why add the extra stress? It's 1st grade!


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