Parent-teacher interviews. Let’s look at the possible dynamics here. Is this an opportunity for parents to actually interview teachers? Or teachers to interview the parents? Is it a chance for the adults to size each other up? I believe the actual purpose is to have a discussion about the student you have in common, voice concerns, hear about successes and struggles, right? It is an opportunity to see what we are all bringing to the table and how we will support the student as a learning team.
I thought it was the report card that made me nervous. It wasn’t just the report card. The parent-teacher interview is daunting. This week I prepared myself to attend parent-teacher interview night. We attended in Senior Kindergarten, but I wasn’t this anxious. What will I hear? What will I say? How will I react? Am I doing the right things at home to support Sophie?
Before heading out, I read and re-read the report card. I discussed with my parenting cohort and my smarty pants child. Did we have concerns? As parents, no. Sophie is concerned about not getting her work done because she gets caught up in discussions with friends surrounding her. Fair enough.
I arm myself with my questions about the reading log, subitizing skills and her backwards printing of numbers. Once I get to the school, it is just the teacher and I in this classroom of bins, desks and labels. I ask one question and she is off, tangentially explaining the math program. She quickly moves around the classroom passionately showing examples of the work they are doing and where they are going next.
I love her. She is so dedicated and in love with teaching grade one. I listen as she describes her job to teach our “babies” the life skills they need to go forth in education. Self-learning and organization. Be responsible for your materials and manners. Popcorn prayers – this is a super cool concept about condensing your thoughts and consolidating into single words what you are grateful for. I already know that she answers emails at 5 am and sends out posts to D2L late at night. She is incredible and she thinks our daughter is a pleasure to teach.
What I go on to learn is that Sophie continues to struggle with recognizing patterns of dots on 5 and 10 frames and on dice – subitizing. I had to Google it, you can too. We all do it, we just didn’t know we were doing it. The teacher emphatically explains the importance of this skill. It is the basis for addition, subtraction and multiplication. We need to master our 2, 5 and 10 anchors.
I felt like I was listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher. She explains that she can see the wheels in Sophie’s head turning and then stopping, checking out of the math activity. I sympathize. I don’t get it either, I feel my brain checking out as she shows me examples. I am sure the teacher recognized the look on my face and quickly she reengaged me in the subject by saying “Pinterest”. “Check on Pinterest for dice games”. She really is an amazing and intuitive teacher. We are lucky.
I went into the interview prepared to ask questions about Sophie and discuss how to help her out. I left the interview feeling like I have let her down. Sophie’s kindergarten teacher had expressed to me that we needed to practise this math skill as well. I have not helped her with her subitizing. We haven’t spent extra time playing with dice, dominoes and cards as I intended. I don’t want her to have the look on her face or that feeling inside like she doesn’t know or can’t do…
I expected to feel like I went to bat for Sophie or bantered about all her amazing accomplishments. I never expected to feel like I dropped the ball. In the end, I only asked a handful of questions. I did a lot of listening.
The answer is that the parent-teacher interview is what I believed it to be. However, it is more than learning about Sophie, it helped me learn about myself. We commit a lot of time to reading and language development, I am a “Speechie” and I love language. It’s where my strengths lie. We need more time for math. It’s only November. I have time. We have time. I am going to get out dice, dominoes and cards. We will have game time along with our reading time. We can count and we will SUBITIZE.