Thursday, January 14, 2010

what a star!



parent-teacher conferences take place once a year in our public school here in denmark. and yesterday was the day. sabin has several different teachers for different subjects, but she also has a main teacher. the conference yesterday was with her and with the math & science teacher.

i think as a parent, you always go into these meetings with a bit of trepidation. it can give you the feeling of going back yourself to those days, as they often take place in the classroom and you're sitting in a child-sized seat, staring across the desk at the authority figure teachers, feeling a bit worried about what you're going to hear. it crosses your mind that maybe you should pull yourself together in the morning and make the child brush the rats' nests out of her hair a bit better and maybe not always make her the same boring leverpostej sandwich in her lunch, and be a little bit better about insuring she's got the right books in her bag and sharp pencils in her pencil case. it's odd how, for me anyway, the whole situation calls forth feelings of anxiety, even tho' we've received a student plan in advance that pretty much spells out everything that's going to be discussed, so there are no surprises.

it didn't help that the conference before us went more than forty minutes over time, so we waited outside the closed door, in the hallway, with that old dread of going in to face the principal mounting in us. the child comes to the conference as well, so there we sat together, the three of us, drawing pictures of roof construction possibilities (as one does) on a piece of paper that happened to be lying on the table, and trying not to think about why the conference before us went on so long. it got even worse when the student in question came out of the room, clearly red-eyed from crying, and sat quietly in the hall while his parents stayed inside with the teachers. yikes!

at last our turn came and we went in. thankfully, it was more like a conference room that you'd encounter for meetings at work, and didn't take place in the classroom and the children's desks, so the awkward feeling passed. we really like sabin's teachers, so once we were actually there, greeting them and smiling and laughing, all of that dread dissipated, but it's still interesting how it can arise, even in otherwise totally well-adjusted, resourcestærke parents.

and what we heard was what every parent completely dreams of hearing. that sabin had become much more confident in the classroom, that she spoke up and that she even dared to be wrong once in awhile (last year at the conference, we found out that she was a real perfectionist and this kept her from speaking up). she had come a long way in her reading and spelling - which had been a bit behind last year, undoubtedly because she is growing up bilingual. she was great in math, always digging right into the assignments and participating in a lively way during class. we also heard that she gets along with everyone, that all of the other kids would like to be assigned to a group with her and that she has great social skills. she can sense when someone is about to be sad and she is gentle and kind towards them. she's able to say no to something in way that leaves everyone feeling ok about it. and she's very good at getting the group rallied around an activity - be it a game or making something together. we heard that she's very creative and inspires creativity in the other kids. it was so positive it almost became embarrassing in the totally opposite way to what we could have expected.



and i think that it's all because of her riding. she started riding almost a year ago and her posture has improved, her confidence has improved, as has her entire outlook and attitude (not that it was bad before, it really wasn't). but i think that spending time every weekend at her riding lessons has given her something she's proud of being good at and it's made her a bit less of a spoiled only child. because a horse can see through any spoiled behavior and doesn't allow it. so she's had to learn on occasion about not getting her way. and i think it's been really good for her.

popularity is such an elusive thing. it's hard to put a finger on what makes one person popular and another one picked on. but it's true that she's never been the picked on child in the class. it's also true that she has a wide range of friends home with her on a regular basis. she plays with both boys and girls, pretty much equally. and her annual halloween party has become a real event on the class's autumn social calendar. so, i don't know what it is, but i am very grateful for it. and it's a big part of why when we move, we don't want her to have to change schools. it seems conditions are perfect for her in this one.

10 comments:

Elizabeth said...

It feels so good to be a very proud mummy, doesn't it?

Miss Footloose said...

I've been where you've been in much of what you describe. We've moved around, had kids in foreign schools for a couple of years, and also adopted a son who spoke a foreign language and needed acclimatization and learn English.

As parents we agonize over schooling and how our kids will do. Glad that you're having a good experience with your daughter in Denmark. It's always a relief to hear good news on that front.

dutchbaby said...

You must be proud as a peacock with all your feathers spread out!

Optimistic Pessimist said...

I'm sure she's picked up a few of these skills at home as well!

Sammi said...

Aw, I'm so glad that parents evening went well!! I still feel ill thinking about it.

Char said...

when the teachers are so great and make an environment to thrive, it's always a win-win. I'm so proud of her and for you too.

Gwen said...

How lovely to hear such great things about your child. Good on all of you.

Marilynne said...

Sabin sounds like a lovely girl. Be sure she's challenged in some way. Perhaps the riding lessons do it.

joeyandaleethea said...

Gosh my stomach was rumbling just reading about the anticipated (dreaded!) meeting with the teacher. But how wonderful that it all turned out beautifully. Absolutely stunning shot of your daughter on the lovely horse. So fun!

Just Jules said...

she is creative and inspires it because she has been given the room and provided the material to be so. You are doing good ... it is just nice to hear it isn't it?!