Thursday, November 1, 2007

Parent Teacher Conferences

Austin had his parent teacher conferences tonight. I was looking forward to going because we haven't had as consistent communication this year as I have in the past. When I need something or there has been a problem, the teachers are great about e-mailing me. It's harder, though, because there are so many more of them.

We were scheduled to meet with his language arts/lit teacher and PE teacher. I called and requested that we meet with all of them.

We started with his math and his teacher said that Austin has been really solid this year. He is doing incredible in math this year and it is great that he has a teacher who is willing to explain something a dozen times if a student isn't understanding. He said that he has called on him several times when he has thought he wasn't paying attention, but he instantly had the answer. Austin has a tendency to "look" like he isn't paying attention, when he really is. Because of all the sensory input in a classroom (lights buzzing and bright, other kids bustling about and making noise, the hard seat, etc, etc, etc), he crouches on his feet in his seat and generally puts his head down on his desk to block it all out. Hence, teachers think he isn't paying attention, but he is. He is getting a B+, right on the verge of an A- (89%). That is awesome for him!

Next we went to the PE teacher. Austin has dressed every time and is getting an A in PE!!! I was thrilled with this when I saw it on his report card, but he explained it to us. He said that it is a very subjective class (no kidding!) and Austin is trying his best, has a positive attitude, is dressing and showing up on time, and has gotten all A's on written tests. He said that's why he's doing well. The skills don't matter, as long as he is giving an honest effort. I wish every PE teacher would be this way...he's consistently done poorly in PE because of his poor motor skills and we finally have a teacher who doesn't judge on the final product, but the effort!!! I loved it!

Then we met with his Lit/Language arts teacher. She said he's doing well (A-), but could be doing much better. I agree 100%. He does the least amount of work to go squeaking through, but if he applied himself, he could do a lot better. So, we discussed it and I told her what worked last year was to MAKE him spend X amount of time on a paper. If most people got done in 15 minutes, he HAD to take 15 minutes to do it. If he got done sooner, he needed to scrutinize his work and redo it. That really helped and forced him to slow down and he did better. So, she said she was going to buckle down on him and try this option.

Next was his science and social studies teacher. Same as his lit teacher...he wasn't applying himself fully. Still getting a great grade (A-), but could be doing better. He said that very morning he had gotten a test back with a D, and Austin immediately put it in the recycling. I made him get it out and show it to me. For crying out loud, the kid got questions about dinosaurs wrong! He said that it took the entire class 30 minutes to do and Austin was finished in 6 minutes!! So we talked about the option again and he is going to do that with him. He asked if it was OK to hand it back to him and say it needed to be looked at carefully, I said you betcha.

All the teachers said it looked like he wasn't paying attention, but when he was called on, he had the answer. They all said he is a great pleasure to have in class because he is more on "their level" than his peers (they don't see this as a problem). All in all, it was a great conference and I felt like we had gotten through the first quarter well and hopefully he'll do even better next quarter.

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