Friday, November 16, 2007

Conference Day

It's Friday, November 16. My son just had three days off of school. The first two days were conference days. Thursday was hunting day. In Ohio, we never had hunting day off from school. (I did not move to Michigan until I was almost 25-years-old). I also did not hear about kids getting a day off for hunting during the seven years we lived in Lansing. But, here in Mt. Pleasant, MI, school was closed for hunting day. We are not really a hunting family, so my son was more excited about conference day.

"Today is con-fer-ENCE DAY!," my nine-year-old sang. He sang it over and over on Tuesday morning. He knew I had a conference with his teacher in the afternoon. When his beloved babysitter emailed in sick, he became really excited about the possibility that he'd get to go. I knew that he'd do his best to keep all the attention on him if I took him and his little brother with me. Talking to his teacher about important matters would be difficult, but I did not think I had a choice.

I did not really want to bring my husband into it--especially as I didn't get much notice to find a back-up plan. But, my sweetheart found out from a co-worker who happens to be a mutual friend of ours. (I called her in a panic when I could not get a hold of her mom.) A very nice reference librarian agreed to fill in my husband's shift at the reference desk and my boys and I drove to the university library to pick him up before heading to the school. My son still wanted to go to the conference, but his consolation prize was to play on the playground with his brother and dad. They were laughing and playing when I came out about a half-hour later, so I know they had a good time.

The conference also went pretty well. Behavior was not an issue for the first time in four or five years. He's actually doing great in that area. However, handwriting is a bit of a struggle for him. His special education teacher and I talked about how he ritualizes writing his name. He always dots his "i" with a huge dot and the last three letters are always taller than the rest even though those letters are not the tall ones in the alphabet.

His teacher noted that the dot wasn't a big issue. However, she did say that his sense of letter proportion needs a lot of work. We decided I could combine his spelling word practice and writing together and also agreed that I should try not to overwhelm him with too many rules about not ritualizing. I'm going to try to break his habit a little bit (one letter maybe) at a time and will continue to communicate with the teacher in the time period between conferences.

Before I left, my son's teacher handed me a handwritten notecard with three apples on the front. I read it after leaving her room. In the card she thanked me for attending the class field trip to a pumpking patch, told me she enjoyed having my son in class, and predicted he'd have "a great future."

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