My son has had a completely different school experience than my daughter so far. He is a first grader this year and kindergarten was far from the exciting entry into elementary school that it should have been. Instead, he was constantly tested by the school appointed speech therapist and guidance counselor because of his lack of communication with his kindergarten teacher. Each time, the speech therapists results would be inconclusive because she would pull him when he had a cold or his sinus allergies were acting up. At the end of last year, the action plan was to meet at the beginning of his first grade year to make a plan with his new teacher.
Surprisingly, when he returned to school this year, his first grade teacher was shocked that he was in this program. He was actually the kid in her class that answered a great deal of questions so far and has been correct with most of his responses. The same therapist from last year tested him and he exceeded all goals for kindergarten and first grade. The counselor met will all of us and concluded that he didn’t need to be in the program because he is where he needs to be with his class. There was comment made that he is very intelligent “for a boy.”
This comment only made ponder if last year was the result of assumptions being made about boys that were false. He had the vocabulary but didn’t have the right teacher. It was up to me at home to make sure that he did not lose his love of learning or self-confidence because of personality conflicts.
Here are a few tips that helped me:
- Constantly ask questions and follow-up. I wouldn’t have known without asking my child and his teacher more questions about daily activities. Anytime that I heard that there was a challenge, I would follow-up with questions for my child and his teacher at the end of the following week to see how things were going.
- Keep communication open with everyone. Occasionally reaching out to the teacher to ask about progress and challenges kept the dialogue going between us throughout the school year. There was never a reason for the teacher to feel that she couldn’t reach out to me about anything and vice versa.
- Pay attention to details. Listening for the details or the lack of them when hearing feedback regarding his progress was the most important factor. If the feedback doesn’t sound like your child or your child’s story is missing parts and doesn’t make logical sense – it should be questioned immediately.
- Morning Mantras – On a daily basis we do morning mantras before leaving out the door for school. I choose two things that he needed to work on and made them part of his morning mantras.