Thursday, October 31, 2013

Failure to Collaborate

I just received Big Kid's first report card from the new school.

That's going well, by the way. He's been like a totally different kid since he switched. He is happy, never complains about school anymore, and sometimes says it's fun. He has (hesitantly) admitted that he feels more advanced than his classmates and makes a real effort to come up with things that he's learned that day and always adds, "I never knew that before! I sure am learning a lot!" as if to convince me. So, I can't yet tell if they are academically on par with the last school; they seem to be learning the same things just in different ways. There's less homework and busy work, but is there less work in general? It's hard to say but I don't really care because he's happy. I find myself wondering about the lack of worksheets and then remembering that I never agreed with worksheets in the first place.

But the report card itself was a surprise. There were no letters, just numbers from 1 to 3, all indicating that he was average in everything which seemed odd since he usually gets straight As and seems unchallenged, if anything lately. He got a 1 (the worst score) in his ability to work in a group and the teacher's comment was something about his inability to collaborate with others. This seriously freaked me out--Big Kid gets along easily with others and has reported no problems at school.

I asked him about it and he was baffled. He mentioned that he was involved with a group project and he had asked Kevin why his extra-curricular sports should excuse him from his at home portion of the work, and admitted being snippy about it but clarified that it had just happened that day and that Kevin was irresponsible.

I started feeling really worried and also annoyed at the teacher--I decided she should have clarified the problem or called me in for a conference and not vaguely referred to it on his report card. I got a little riled up and decided he was being graded on his social ability and if he wasn't actually being a problem, that was a problem. So what if he's quiet? So what if he politely calls Kevin out on his crap?

I emailed her.

(Don't worry, I was nice. I also didn't mention Kevin.)

She emailed back within an hour and explained the number thing. She agrees it's dumb, and it's not the school's idea just another great idea that the state is implementing. She also said Big Kid had a problem in his reading group because he has decided some people read too slowly or without enough inflection and interrupts with an offer to finish for them.

So yeah, that's a problem. An annoying (but also mildly amusing) problem.

"Big Kid, do you have issues with your reading group?" I asked.

His eyes got big as he realized what she had meant. He definitely recognized it as a problem.

"Mom, it's just that they're terrible readers--the book doesn't even sound good. They aren't even trying. If you could hear it--"

I interrupted him to point out that it didn't matter and how they needed the reading practice more than he needed an enjoyable reenactment of the story and to knock it off and read it how he wants on his own time. He was contrite, but still pretty sure that I wouldn't like listening to it either. He's probably right.

But thank God I was nice and didn't mention Kevin! It turns out that Big Kid is the problem this time, in a very Big Kid type of way.

1 comment:

Nikki T. said...

My daughter's school does the whole numbers thing as well. My husband and I were used to letter grades. It took me forever to get my husband to understand that average is not a C it is more on par with an A or a high B. It is confusing especially when you have never seen that system before.