It was a parent-teacher conference for Tornado E. And even the principal was there. Apparently I’m gaining some sort of reputation. Sure, I’ve advocated in the past, but I’m not unreasonable. It’s just that I’m a teacher too, so I have read the studies on kids who are held back, and I have read the articles on testing. So you better be ready to present your data when you make an educational decision about my kid that I do not agree with.
The last battle they agreed to retest Tornado E, and they received the same results, not ready for advanced math, but by that time, he was earning a C in regular math already. I was near losing it. But it turns out he got a C on his first test, two days in the new math class, and the teacher was impressed and kept the grade. I was less than impressed.
So that brings us back to the conference with the principal and two of Tornado E’s teachers. Since they cannot have ever teacher attend ever conference, two teachers attend; while, the others write notes. Today’s teachers were the language arts teacher and the art teacher, who Tornado E has for 3 classes. The language arts teacher ran the meeting.
LAT: We just love Tornado E. He is so smart. He asks questions. He provides great answers. He’s sharp.
AT: He’s so creative.
LAT: Let’s look at his grades. Oh, A’s in everything but math. Huh. Let’s see what he wrote for his self-reflection. He enjoys language arts. (Wait. My scientist, math-kid?!) But for his weaknesses, he says he isn’t doing well in math and he doesn’t know why. Can you enlighten us?
Most, certainly. You listening, big guy?
Me: Tornado E is a math person, a numbers person. He has always prided himself on his math skills. But then he took the math test and was taken out of the advanced math class and put into a regular math class. He was given a test the second day in, and his teacher told me she would have tossed the grade if it had been bad. But he got a C with only a review and no instruction. She was quite impressed. I am not. Tornado E is capable of more, and so he has been without video games since. At least, at my house. I think he’s struggling because this has been a blow to his ego. He is also a creature of habit and does not do well with change. This whole thing has knocked him off kilter. But thank you for retesting him.
LAT: Oh, thank you (makes some typing notes). This is good to know. Can you shed any more light?
So I went on the usual explanation. The differences in the two households. The stress it puts on Tornado E and his brothers. The actions I’m taking on my end to even things out.
LAT: You’re proactive. That’s great.
The principal: That’s a lot of stress on a kid….
LAT: Let’s go on. (Enter all the good things the teachers have to say. Like he’s a good student and he’s so smart and he’s funny.) Here it is again. Tornado E interprets instructions differently from others.
AT: He interprets instructions in a very creative way.
LAT (rescanning notes): It looks like we have all seen the same issue. It’s not a bad thing. It’s-
AT: He just sees the world different. In a unique way. I think it’s a positive. I can’t wait to see what he does this year.
LAT: I just make sure he understands something clearly. He’s very good at asking for clarification.
AT: I just make sure the block is the correct way or whatever else he’s working on. It’s just…. a Tornado E thing.
A unique thinking. Doesn’t interprets things like everyone else. Where have I heard that before?
“Fae, you just don’t think like everyone else,” said my exasperated boss as he looked over my completed task. Then he pointed where there needed to be changes to match the rest of the population’s understanding of the world. I nodded, took the work, and returned to my desk to make corrections. As I was leaving for the day, my boss called out to me, “Fae, I like how you think. That’s why I want you as an artist and a writer on the website. We need more of you. Have a good night.” I yelled thanks and ran down the stairs to catch the cafeteria before it closed.
So Tornado E inherited more from me than just my hairs and blond hair.