Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Gifted Exchange

I just returned from my first parent-teacher conference where I played the role of the parent. Having participated in many, many as a teacher, I have defended my curriculum, my standards, my expectations, and my grading scheme more times than I feel a professional should, but being a professional, I have always embraced the opportunity to assure parents that there is a method to my "madness," and that I really do have the best interests of their children in mind.

Which is why I called a conference with my 7 year-old's 2nd grade teacher. I finally got to the point where I felt my son was being misunderstood by his teacher, and that she was singling him out for his "misbehavior." My son is emotionally intense. He is very energetic and requires constant stimulation. He hums constantly and unconsciously. He can't sit still, even when he's concentrating on a task, such as reading or holding in his pee. He is a boy, he's my son, and he is classified as GT.

My purpose during the conference was to feel out the teacher's level of dedication to challenging him individually and to assess her overall assessment of my son. Recently, my son has come home frustrated, angry, upset, and sometimes in near tears. He's under the impression that his teacher is picking on him, being unfair to him, and being unnecessarily rude and punitive to him (my words, not his.) Bringing up specific allegations that were quickly, and adroitly subverted, I did my best during the conference to bite my tongue and smile, desperately trying to say something that successfully demonstrated my deepest concerns while hiding my true sentiment and feelings. I walked out of the conference resigned to the fact that my wife and I were just going to have to continue biting our tongue with a smile for the remaining 15 weeks of the year and focus, instead, on seeking out that elusive 3rd grade teacher that will recognize and best serve our child. Until then, I'll keep up supplementing at home, providing multiple learning opportunites and enriching experiences and savor those gifted moments between gifted father and gifted son.

Here's a poem I've written describing how my son and I see things. I hope you appreciate it, but if you don't, that's OK, I just hope you're not my son's future 3rd grade teacher.

Tate and his Daddy were two silly dudes.
They would drink silly drinks and eat silly foods.
Here's an example of how they were silly:
They'd put ketchup and milk all over their chili.
When enjoying a sip from their favorite soda,
They'd have it with ice cream and have soda a-la-moda.

And when they sang songs, they'd sing silly words.
If the song was about dogs, they'd sing about birds.
And every song, they would sing it ten times.
And each time they sang it, they would change up the lines.
If the song was a slow one, they'd sing it real fast.
If it was fast, they'd sing it real slow, just to make it last.

And putting on clothes was a silly affair.
They'd put shirts on their legs, and socks in their hair.
They'd wear silly shoes that were too big for their feet,
And colorful bow ties that were pretty and neat.
Their underwear would go on top of their jeans,
Then they'd hop up and down like two jumping beans.

They love to laugh and they love to laugh hard.
They like to mow the carpet and vacuum the yard.
They can always be found with a smile on their face.
They like to put weeds in a beautiful vase.
When riding a bike, they sit on the handles,
And to formal affairs, they like to wear sandals.

They like to complain when things are going their way,
And they carry umbrellas on bright, sunny days.
While taking a bath, they yearn for a shower,
And when they eat something sweet, they say it's "too sour."
They like to watch races with turtles and snails.
They like to use screws when they should have used nails.

They like to pay full price, never shopping for sales,
And the run 'round the house wagging their make-believe tails.
They like to have birthdays 12 times a year,
And stick big, long soda straws inside their ears.
They tell silly jokes that have no punch lines at all,
Like, "Why did Autumn hurt herself? Because she was Fall."

They like to wear coats in the middle of summer,
And when school's out for the winter, they think it's a bummer.
They like to write poems with lines that don't rhyme,
And when asked for the date, they tell them the time.
They like to take naps at two in the morning,
And when they're wide awake, they pretend that they're snoring.

They'll walk with their eyes closed and sleep with them open.
They soap 'stead of rinsin', and rinse 'stead of soapin'.
When driving a car, they like to go in reverse.
They store their wallets inside of their purse.
When swinging a bat, they go to four strikes.
They like all their hates, and hate all their likes.

When blowing their nose, they don't use a tissue,
And if you stay by their side, they'll certainly miss you.
They feel so much joy that they'll make you go numb,
From their incessant singing or their unpleasant hum.
Yes, misunderstood, they in fact sometimes are,
But in their own constellation, they're the brightest two stars.

Love you, Cowboy!


Anonymous said...

Laughter is still some of life's best medicine; and being silly helps the rest of us continue to laugh. You both are loved sooooo much!!

Dmac said...

It's the educator's curse Kevin. I have been trying to supplement real science experiences with my third grader after she began saying science is boring. By boredum she means reading about it rather than living, playing and experiencing science. How does one make science boring to a third grader. Arggh!!!!!