Parent-Teacher Conferences

I’m very pleased with the schools here and with each of the girl’s teachers. We recently just met with them for parent-teacher conferences.

We first met with Jenna’s 2nd-grade teacher, Miss Holland. She just started teaching at Fairfield this year and seems to be a good match for Jenna. Jenna told us that she doesn’t like recess because there’s nothing to do. Apparently she just stands around watching the other kids. She likes to swing, but the swings are always being used by other children. We mentioned our concern about Jenna’s anxiety to Miss Holland, who ensured that she would observe Jenna during recess. She did mention to us that Jenna has been coming out of her shell since school started and has been speaking up more during class. She is interacting with the other kids at her table and seems to be adjusting well. She is doing very well academically, and particularly enjoys math, reading, and writing. Jenna loves to read. I enjoy listening to her while she reads aloud, with her various voice inflections, and I am often surprised by her subject matter choices. She’s very inquisitive and loves to learn. Miss Holland’s only suggestion for Jenna: to color the accompanying pictures to her stories more often. If that’s her main concern, I think we’re doing pretty well. She’s in Brownies again this year, which she absolutely loves. She gets to sell Girl Scout cookies, so now I have a great excuse to buy those Thin Mints…

Our second conference was with Mrs. Walton, Skye’s 4th-grade teacher. She remarked on Skye’s demonstration of and desire for responsibility. Skye does love having opportunities to be independent and responsible. Mrs. Walton seemed impressed when Skye told her that she had a “conversation” with Brent. Apparently it isn’t common for parents to have meaningful or thoughtful discussions or conversations with their children. Mrs. Walton expressed her concern about a student who had a bad sore on his thumb from playing video games excessively. I found it quite disturbing and don’t understand how parents could not be actively engaged and involved with their children.

We also met with Skye’s GT (Gifted and Talented) teacher, Mr. Reinhartsen. She attends the program for math, reading, and writing each Monday. The math still hasn’t been challenging enough for her though, so she is going to start working with the GT 5th-graders on Wednesdays as well. Brent and I were also concerned that Skye was not picking challenging enough books to read. She was choosing series books that she breezed right though. Mr. Reinhartsen wasn’t concerned. He reassured us that it was good for her to enjoy reading books with the “familiar” characters and plots, and occasionally reading the more challenging books in between. He works with GT kids all the way through high school, and we’re excited that Skye will be able to continue with him and have the challenges and stimulation she needs throughout the next several years.

We learned something about Hayley from her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Arnold. Apparently Hayley really likes to be in charge. She sits at a table with other children who like to chatter and move about (go figure…it’s kindergarten). Hayley is often the one who tries to get them to calm down, either because they’re distracting her or because she doesn’t want them to get in trouble. It doesn’t sound like she’s just being bossy. She also goes around helping other kids when they’re struggling with something. Mrs. Arnold mentioned that Hayley and another boy in her class are doing advanced reading, and seemed to have a sort of competition going. It seems that when Jacob learns new words, Hayley will quickly make the effort to learn them, and vice versa. I was surprised by this at first because at home she sometimes acts helpless and lacks initiative to try something. Her sisters like to help her and frequently do things for her, with Skye often taking charge. It makes sense though. Hayley doesn’t have the opportunity for a leadership role at home like she does at school. Mrs. Arnold went into detail about the things they’re learning, yet Hayley tells us she hasn’t learned anything, because “that’s what kindergarten’s like.”

8 thoughts on “Parent-Teacher Conferences”

  1. Excellent post, Kirsten. I was glad to be able to attend each of the conferences with you. The girls are doing so well and I am very proud of them.

    My only real concern was with Jenna’s class. The standards are so low I don’t see how any child could possibly be left behind. These pupils have been in school now for two and a half years and all they’re studying in math are basic geometric shapes and double-combination addition (2+2, 3+3, 4+4, 5+5, …). What a joke!

    Skye is being provided ample opportunity and challenge to keep her engaged and motivated. I don’t expect much from Hayley’s class. After all, she could do basic reading and arithmetic before school started. But I do expect much more out of a second grade curriculum. Jenna, for sure, is capable of far more!

  2. That was a really great post. Mike and I enjoyed learning a little more about how your children have grown and matured. Their personalities really seem to be blooming!

    You guys are awesome parents!

  3. I hope this doesn’t sound overly braggadocioius, but I had just remarked to Kirsten earlier in the week that I’m sure our children eat at fast-food restaurants less often (maybe twice a year, maybe), consume less soft drink beverages (like, never), and watch less television (again, like, never) than most (or any) of their peers.

    When Mrs. Walton told us the story about the student with sores on their hands I was appalled and uncomfortably unsurprised. Is the travesty of poor parenting worsening or is it just more apparent now that I’m a parent?

    @Mike and Kim – Thank you. I think their personalities are evolving more than they are blooming. Their minds, however, are definitely blooming. They impress and surprise me each and every day.

  4. I think all of us are smart. The sore thumb was probably from Tommy, Caleb, John, Evan, or Tanner. They really like video games. Sometimes they would show and tell a new video game they got.

  5. I am glad not to be the only “weirdo” parent out there! :-) I find it very frustrating to try to find another kid for Sam to hang out with who has some sort of rudimentary ability to amuse himself without a computer, television, or game system. I want Sam to have friends over but the price I pay is to allow them to sit in front of a screen in a stupor for hours on end. When I cut off the artificially induced entertainment, the child soon desires to go home because he is so “bored.”

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