We had parent-teacher conferences last night. They went pretty much like they have since Katie’s first one in kindergarten—both kids are doing fine, they meet or exceed all the important markers for their grade, they’re well-behaved and fun in class, blah blah blah. And Victor and I sit there—like always—stunned, because these two kids are pretty much little poo-heads at home all the live-long day. I know we’re not the only parents shocked that their kids are liked at school; at home we worry that they’ll never make friends if they continue on the path toward being total assholes, but apparently AWAY from home they’re delightful. Pffft.
(Note that I did not call my kids “assholes.” I simply said they’re on their way to being them. There’s a difference, and that is an important designation or I end up with CPS banging on my door.)
During Jack’s conference, his teacher said that after they dance every morning, they start their first assignment and Jack is always something something something I don’t remember anything else after she said they dance every morning. We were all WHAT? YOU DANCE IN CLASS? AND JACK DANCES? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? She’s been teaching them the Charleston and the box step, they know how to walk like Egyptians, they do a big hair thing (Jack and Alec are the two long-haired boys who can do that one with the girls), and she’s secretly preparing them for a class performance at The Nutcracker. OMG. I remember little else about his conference, but I know I love this woman for making my kid do this. OMG, so much. OMG.
Katie’s conference had fewer surprises, but I adore her teacher as well. Maybe it’s just because it’s fifth grade and there’s, like, serious work being done or something, but it seems like Ms. Y has found a way to make everything they do FUN. Katie’s doing really well with writing and math (ding-dong! Asian stereotype calling!), and loves being in class every day. This makes me very happy to hear, as I remember fifth grade being one of my most challenging years of school.
When I started fifth grade, my parents had just separated and it was my first year in private (SDA) school. I knew some kids at my new school from church, but for the most part, everyone and everything I knew changed. There was one classroom per grade, and some of the classes had fewer than 20 kids. It was a small school. They didn’t have a TAG program, which I had been in at the public school, and I don’t know if my teacher was lazy or stupid or just didn’t have time, but she absolutely would NOT give extra work to kids who finished ahead of others. I remember completing my entire spelling workbook by the end of October. I caught on pretty quickly that if you didn’t learn at the same speed of the others, you needed to slow down. I have often wondered if things would have been different if I hadn’t had that evil teacher in an already difficult year.
I won’t go into all the things that made her so horrible, but I know I made it obvious that I had no respect for her. She hated that, and told my mom in the fall parent-teacher conference that I frequently rolled my eyes when she would speak. I got in big trouble for that—Mom lectured me the whole way home on how I needed to respect authority even when I didn’t agree with what they were doing. I bet she was thinking to herself that I was exactly like my father.
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t so brilliant at that age that I knew my teacher was worthless, but I certainly knew I didn’t like her. I’m also pretty sure that my kids’ evil detectors are fully functioning, and that we’ve been fortunate they’ve had wonderful teachers so far. I’m totally crossing my fingers that our luck continues.
In the meantime, I’m gonna keep the secret that I know Jack dances every day. It might be my favoritest secret ever.