We had a conference with Jari's teacher last night. She wanted to give us his test results as well as discuss his placement for next year. I headed out the door without a worry in my mind. Jari does well, tries hard, and I had no reason to be concerned. After our conference, I was much less confident. I'm convinced that my son is a high achiever and meets those expectations. The school sees a child that needs a bit of extra help, may fall behind in his studies, and has difficulty making contact with the teachers. Hmmmm....
Jari came out on his tests as being on the lower end of average. This in no way portrays the child I know at home. His artwork is extremely detailed and precise, he is already very interested in reading and tries to find all the letters on signs and in books. He knows much more than he was letting on in those tests. I KNOW this. As I looked at the tests I was surprised by some of his mistakes. His teacher said that she had to redirect him many times as he didn't initially understand the assignment. She said this happens much more frequently than just on the tests. It is hard for her to make contact with him, because he is very quiet and not inquisitive. I wonder what she'd think if she saw (and heard) him at home? She said he frequently draws and writes very tiny. On the first page of his test was a picture he made of himself. It in no way showed the detailed artist that Jari typically is. There was a tiny figure that you could barely see...yes, he'd included all the important parts...face, arms, hands, legs, feet, tummy...but it wasn't a drawing I would have even guessed Jari had done.
Jari's teacher is concerned that next year when he begins 1st year, which is the monumental school year here in Belgium, that he's going to become a bit lost, as he will not ask for help. She thinks he's going to be a kid that needs a bit of extra attention in order to be successful, and she fears that he won't get the attention, but become lost in the crowd due to his quiet manner. She made it clear to us that we're going to have to work extra with him at home in order for him to catch on to the important subject matter covered in 1st year, which is necessary for a successful school career.
Erwin came out of the appointment stating that how the tests were delivered is stupid and the scoring puts the child at a disadvantage. I was more concerned with what his teacher told me. Tests or not, she has been working with kids for a long time, has seen all the differing levels, and should know where a child falls. Still, in the case of Jari, I think she has it all wrong. I sincerely don't see him as someone who will find school subjects difficult, but more as a child who will move through with no worries. I wish I could say the same at this moment in time (no worries, I mean).
When I heard the results, I told her I was very surprised by what she was telling me. I assured her that he is a much different child at home...stubborn, outgoing, strong minded, and smart. But the fact is, we need to encourage him to be that same child at school. I'm happy that he is not a trouble-maker, gets along with the other kids, has great motor skills, and seems to enjoy his social and play life at school. But how can we give him the confidence to succeed in school, to question and answer with confidence, to share stories which apply to the topics of conversation without withdrawing?
This little conference really gave me a good kicking in the stomach. As I walked out, I felt like a failure. All the reminders of Kaeden's test results kept replaying in my mind making me fear the worst for my Jarietje. Yet in my heart of hearts (and head of heads) I KNOW this child will make it, and most likely at the top of the class...that's his character trait...he's going to be a success story. Thanks for the results, Miss Linda, and we WILL help Jari with his studies...next year, the year after that, and the year thereafter as well...and we won't stop til he proves that he is the bright child that WE KNOW that he is! I will not let him fall through the cracks...he will succeed!