During my teaching career, I estimate that I have sat through hundreds of parent-teacher conferences. This past Friday I attended my first conference for Robby. I have to admit that everything looks different from the other side of the desk!
I was surprised at my level of nervousness before the conference with his teachers. I'm involved in his class and speak to his teachers daily, yet the idea of a "formal" meeting put me on edge. What if they told me that my son was unruly, disruptive and not academically swift? What if he is a bully? What if we have been failing at parents and are, indeed, raising a little hellion? I tried to muster my courage, put on make-up and a smile, and prepared to face whatever report was dealt by his beloved teacher.
Academically, Robby is scoring high. He is working on a second grade curriculum for Science and Social Studies/ Geography. His math and reading levels are nearly as high, with him testing at the end of the first grade. I was not surprised that penmanship is an area designated for improvement.
Robby utterly despises pencil work. He loves to paint, but he hates coloring. He refuses to draw anything more than happy faces, but he'll spend hours painting models and decorating treasures with glitter. Trying to get him to write his name or his letters is akin to water boarding in his eyes. On more than one occasion we have both been on the verge of tears when he is required to write words for homework. Although we will continue to work on his penmanship skills, I suspect that a career as a Calligrapher is no longer in the running!
I was thrilled to hear about Robby's academic success. I've always thought he is a smart little boy, but it is nice to have those suspicions validated. The next bit of news that his teachers relayed made me want to jump up and down and do the worm dance in the middle of the classroom. (No doubt that display might have trumped the memory of my scaling a fence to spy on Robby during his first day of school for the school personnel!)
It turns out that Robby is referred to as the "classroom crusader." When he sees a student who is upset, sad, or he perceives as being wronged, Robby immediately steps in to intervene. He has no qualms about offering a supportive hug or stepping in to protect a friend from being picked on. His teachers went on to explain that Robby demonstrates an innate sensitivity towards other students and frequently reaches out to include those who have been excluded from an activity.
While I'm proud of Robby's academic success, I am utterly ecstatic with the compassion that he demonstrates on a regular basis. He has no hesitation to step into a situation to help a friend who is hurting. He isn't shy about offering hugs (which no doubt is one of the reasons he has been so sick this year) and shares what he has in order to help a friend. I hope that he always has this much courage to stand up for his convictions, and he will remain astute enough to see when his friends are hurting.
Although I walked out of the meeting when we were finished, in all reality I might as well have been floating from pride for my little scholar. I barely made it to the security of my car before my tears started to flow. Robby is thriving in Kindergarten, and I could not be more delighted.