There are words you love hearing your child’s teacher say, like “she’s a lovely child” and “so bright” and “a delight to teach”. And there are words you don’t want to hear your child’s teacher say, like “have you thought about repeating her?”.
I did reading groups with Sprog 2′s class yesterday and, as I was leaving, the teacher pulled me aside. She asked the big question. I said, “no, no we haven’t … but if you think we should, perhaps we need to discuss it”. And then I bolted.
I called Husband on his mobile phone: “Sprog 2′s teacher just asked me if we’d consider her repeating Year 1.”
It shouldn’t be a big deal, but Sprog 2 has been through so much already. Kindy was a horrible mess of anxiety, eating disorders and counselling. All sparked by a choking incident at yum cha and a biting incident in the playground. I was just starting to feel like she was settled, happy and had friends. I’m scared to mess with that.
Sprog 2 was born in March, like myself and Husband. We started school before we turned five, but we did just fine. It never occurred to me that my child wouldn’t. Except now parents are tending to hold their kids back and some of Sprog 2′s classmates are a whole year older and more advanced than her. Whole different ballgame.
And if the teacher has her doubts …
Sprog 2, like her sister before her, is struggling with her reading in Year 1. (Ironic for the children of two journalists.) Sprog 2, unlike her sister, isn’t a fan of books. Sprog 1′s delight in the written word pulled her through. She reads like a dervish now. She sucks books dry like the vampires she loves reading about.
Reading isn’t the only hurdle for Sprog 2, she isn’t knocking any other subjects out of the park either. Though I was startled last night when she showed me her homework and had correctly labelled the times on all the clocks. I’m not sure Sprog 1 could do that now, in year 3.
Socially, I thought Sprog 2 had her circle sorted. But the teacher looked surprised when I assured her Sprog 2 had firm friends. It made me question all the presumptions I’ve been making. If the teacher hasn’t noticed, do they actually exist … ?
To ice the cake, her teacher suggested if Sprog 2 was in kindy she’d be average, perhaps a little below, like it was a positive thing. And I’m like, right, so even if we knock her back a whole year, she might still be below average? What does that mean she is now?
In the end, I agreed to have the school counsellor speak to Sprog 2 and make an assessment. I’m pretty sure I want her to stay put, but it doesn’t hurt to explore our options.
ANY ADVICE FROM PARENTS WHO’S BEEN DOWN THIS PATH WOULD BE WARMLY WELCOMED …