A Different Kind of Perfection

Last night was “Back to School” night, we met our kid’s teachers and the new principal of Seth Boyden. It didn’t go stellar for me (I visited Hannah’s teachers, Gerry visited Max’s teacher) and I think we may have some decisions to make.

Apparently Hannah’s been having a hard time with her homework. They really ramp up the assignments this year, and she’s been bad about writing down her assignments and turning them in. When we question her about it she’s vague, very odd, and I couldn’t quite put it together.

When the parents had settled into the class her teacher talked to us about her own kids (1 in Harvard, 1 on Broadway), then lectured us for almost 20 minutes about how our kids weren’t turning in their homework. She said 9 kids hadn’t turned in their homework that day. She also mentioned she’d been at Seth Boyden for 15 years. When I looked around I noticed the same expression on all the parent’s faces, “She’s been doing this for 15 years, she has a kid at Harvard and on Broadway, she must be better at this than I am…

I felt that way, too. As each parent approached her at the end of the session they were very apologetic about their kids, (“Is MY kid a slacker? I heard one parent ask.) When my turn came I told her that we had a very hard time understanding what Hannah was required to do each night – that we looked at her planner, and just couldn’t make sense of what Hannah’d written. Sometimes I’d send notes back asking, “What is Hannah supposed to do!” because we’re supposed to sign off on the homework, but I can’t sign off on something I can’t see…

Our exchange wasn’t pleasant, and I would have felt like I was insane if it hadn’t been for another parent who followed me outside and waited until most other parents went away to mention to me that she felt the same way – just not understanding WHAT our kids are supposed to be doing. Even more confusing, it was written RIGHT ON THE BOARD, yet Hannah hadn’t copied it down in her planner, so she didn’t do the work.

Gerry joined us and commented that if 9 out of 22 students aren’t turning in their work, there’s a bigger problem here…

It wasn’t until we got home and talked it over with Hannah that the truth came out. Hannah cannot read script, the teacher writes the assignments in script. Words like Social confuse Hannah, and she’s not quite there yet. Some of her (really smart) friends read and write script, but not all. My guess is that the 9 kids who didn’t do their work are having the same problem Hannah’s having – they can’t read the board.

She said that she tried to tell the teacher and was ashamed. As she sobbed she said, “Mom, I’m the only kid who can’t read script, and I just can’t tell her!

I told her that at least one other kid was having a hard time reading the lesson. We’re making an appointment to speak with the vice principal (Max’s teacher from last year – we adore her) to see what we can do. It’s clear that Hannah’s become an “issue” for both of her teachers, and I can understand it. She’s dramatic, lively, and when she feels she’s not doing well she compensates by doing MORE stuff (which can be even more annoying – she wants SO much to do well…) What a frustration for both teacher AND student!

I remember having a hard time with script – AND with telling time! I think I was the last kid in the class to get both down cold, and still have a hard time with silly things like my left & right. My Aunt Wanda had a beauty salon with a hand painted sign my cousin created. It was lovely, in script it said, “Vanity Case Salon” – I swear until I was 10 I thought it said, “Sanity Case Salon” because I always got my V’s and S’s mixed up. It’s funny now, but it was mortifying then.

Jeeze I love these kids so much – when they have a difficulty it just rips my heart out.

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