Teacher conference, woohoo

Whenever we have a teacher conference with a new teacher for Gameboy, there is no small measure of trepidation. He's a smart kid, but he is a handful for anyone. The best laid plans of meeting with teachers before the school year started did not go as planned. Instead, we met the teacher that used to run the program that he was to be enrolled.

Tonight, I met up with the teacher that has him for half of the day and was pleasantly surprised. It was similar to the meetings we had with his teacher for the previous two years. We talked about how much his intelligence impressed her. She told me how he was a rapt listener in class, remembered EVERYTHING she taught and had insightful answers for the questions she posed.

For instance, the students are currently reading 'The Skin I'm In,' a book about a young girl with poor self image. The girl speaks of her mother, but the mother does not really have a role in the book. Ms. O asked the students what the character thought of her mother and his answers had a lot of depth. He does get human interaction-he just can't apply it to himself. (I think I want to request a copy of this book-it sounded really interesting)

She got our letter of introduction about Gameboy and asked my opinion regarding homework. We wrote that we were concerned that it takes him hours to complete assignments. Ms. O said some parents insist on homework, some ask for none-what was my preference? I am of the mind that if he is retaining the classroom instruction, then we shouldn't drill the child at home. She agreed and felt that it was unneccessary for him. It really heartened me to have a say in his instruction, to know that we are a partnership for the next three years and agree on what is best for him.

The biggest relief to me is that, despite his emotional outbursts, she loves having him in her class because she enjoys his insights. When I explained that emotionally, she's dealing with a three year old, it was like a ligh bulb went on over her head. It really is hard to see a brawny 11 year old and realize that his emotional maturity is that of a preschooler-I'm glad she got the connection.

She also wanted 'the big picture' and asked about Chef Jr. We talked about how he is the trailblazer for his big brother, involving the family in scouting and generally being patient beyond his years. She got a taste of the squabbling that happens. Somehow, we got to discussing my leg and impending disability and found that she has had similar circulatory issues. She's had the sapphenous vein stripped, too. She's also been falling lately, and I made a suggestion that she keep a journal of what happens prior to the falls to bring with her for the doctor's appointment. It felt like I was sitting down with a friend and wanted the best for her. She certainly shows that she wants the best for my child.

It appears that the roller coaster ride of uncertainty has returned to the station. We're all in accord on the homework, the future FCAT testing and what works with Gameboy. I do want to have a conference with his math and science teacher next. Ms. V teaches his best AND worst subject.

Math could be his standout class, however, he basically was babysat in third grade due to poor placement. Our goof-Florida doesn't recognize Asperger's as Autism and as a result, he was in a class of 1st through 3rd grade spectrum and the teacher taught to the lowest common denominator. He did not learn his multiplication tables. Science, on the other hand, fascinates him to no end.

Perhaps this is the time to get some practical experience. I should get my hands on some teaching materials to work on tutoring him in 3rd through 5th math to get him up to grade level. Once he learns those tables, then they'll stick forever.

My other responsibility is to get the specific typing program he requested to learn to type properly. He has many teaching accommodations, but the FCAT testing criteria are iron clad. He must write his own answers. In the past, he would dictate it to a teacher, then type it out, then he'd edit the printed draft, then retype it. By the time he got to the retyping, he was tired of the material. By teaching him to type properly, he can type and edit in a more timely manner.

What a relief this conference was!


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