It’s no secret that I am incredibly awkward in social situations. It’s usually because I am way too much in my head to respond accordingly. My therapist says I spend too much time thinking about what to say and not enough time just listening to what the other person is saying. But when I do just listen, it takes me much too long to come up with a response. It’s my own personal catch-22 HELL.
Yesterday was a parent/teacher meeting of sorts at my son’s new school. All the parents gathered together to listen to a presentation by the teacher, and then the teacher would be available to chat afterward.
I was looking forward to it. My son is in a class with a teaching team – two women that he had already told me he really liked. I was looking forward to the chance to discuss with them my concerns for his education. Especially in a class of 36 kids.
Both of his teachers do seem quite wonderful. They were full of smiles, and have been teaching together for 7 years. Just in the 15 minute presentation, I could tell that they had a great report. The classroom was stocked with books (SO MANY BOOKS) and they couldn’t emphasize enough how important they believed reading is for children. They believe in positive reinforcement, for the individual student, for the groups separated by table, and for the class as a whole.
After the presentation, I went up to one of the teachers to introduce myself. She was talking to another parent, so I stood awkwardly by and pretended to look at the classroom decor. She finished and turned to me with a huge smile on her face.
“You’re T’s mom, right?”
I was caught off guard. I had been prepared to introduce myself as T’s mom and she took that away from me. Now I was unprepared. I muttered a yes and nodded stupidly as she told me how he was such a sweet child.
And then I said something totally stupid.
I told her that he’s a bright child and I’m intimidated by him.
That’s not what I meant! I used the wrong word! But now she’s looking at me curiously. I have to say something.
So I stutter some question about whether they test their levels (what?) so they can mold (again – not the word I was looking for) their lesson plans to each child’s abilities.
She smiled politely and told me they do “lots of testing.” Because they have to. For core common standards or whatever. Obviously. And if there’s children beyond the standards, they do try to help challenge them.
I stuttered again. And then I apologized.
“I’m sorry. This is my first kid. I’m not sure what questions I’m supposed to ask.”
This is when another mom jumped in and said it’s her first child too and she was SO nervous on the first day. She spent the whole day crying, and even followed the school bus in the morning to make sure her daughter got off the bus okay. The teacher laughed with her and then they started talking about first day of school jitters.
I walked away. I said good-bye to the other teacher and left the classroom.
I didn’t word my question right. She didn’t understand what I was asking, and now she probably thinks T’s mom is a dope.
Now I’m obsessing over whether I should email the teachers and try to explain what I was trying to say better. T is a bright child, and I just want to make sure they’re up to challenging the children (not just mine) past what the school district thinks they should know. The core common standards are not good enough. They cater to the lowest common denominator and I don’t want my child to get lost in the shuffle of making sure children merely pass some tests.
I don’t want children who aren’t meeting the standards to get lost either. I want them all to have the best possible chance at getting the education they deserve.
I just don’t always communicate that in the best way. Even now, I feel like I’m failing. Maybe I should just email them a link to my blog.