Tuesday, March 10, 2009

grades are in

Report cards came out on Friday. Oh, I remember too well the feeling of dread that day used to bring. In my school the principal would call each student one by one to her office and go over the report card with you. I hated that most of all. I have no idea why, because I always did well. Who knows...I think it was just the idea of going to the Principal's office.

I was proud of both Sam and Teresa. They have worked hard and their report cards illustrate the time and effort they put into their schoolwork. Teresa's teacher wrote glowing comments, describing her as "an exceptionally bright and articulate young lady." Teresa struggled initially in school and to see her flourishing now is wonderful. Sam's report card does not have the same letter grades or gushing comments Teresa's does but we are no less proud of our boy. Sam faces challenges and has had to work doubly hard to deal with them. He is holding his own right now and putting forth an enormous amount of effort to do so. School for Sam is exhausting because of the amount of concentration and effort he needs to put into just getting through the day. It's exhausting for me too. I have been working with him extensively on test taking skills, his comprehension strategies and work habits. I think it's time for me to take a step back and let someone else take over the reins for a bit. I have decided it may be a good idea to have a tutor work with him, even if it's just once a week. We shall see how that goes.

It's so hard not to worry about grades. I know ultimately what grades they get is superfluous. It doesn't determine the rest of their life. But it is the only indicator we have of the progress they are making in school and so while logically I know I shouldn't get hung up on them...I still do. I want to see forward progression. Even if it's minute, I still want forward movement.

Even though I dreaded getting my own report cards, I loved school. I soaked up learning like a little sponge. I want to pass on that excitement and enthusiasm to my kids. I see Teresa looking forward to activities and projects and future units. But for Sam, right now, school is just so much work and that's it. It's very hard for him to see past the enormous amount of work that it is to get excited about the learning. Hopefully he'll get back to being excited soon.

Speaking of report cards...I thought I had it bad, having to speak with the principal when I got mine. Joe's Mom gave me his childhood report cards. They are so bad, they're laughable. One year he missed over 60 days of school because of his asthma. No wonder he got E's. Yes, he did. E's. Have you ever heard of them? I hadn't. And for some crazy reason E's are worse than F's. They indicate Complete Failure. Nice...that won't kill a kids drive to succeed, do you think? Thank goodness Joe didn't let his teachers promotion prediction of "doubtful" get in the way of actually succeeding in life. Let's hope Sam's got his Dad's perseverance and can do attitude.

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