Saturday, January 31, 2009

Plays Well With Others

When A. was a baby, I noticed a tendency to guess what kind of children the babies would turn into. There was always a lot of speculation on whether the kid would be smart or not. One mother even confessed her worries that her son would be dumb. She was very smart, and worried she'd have a hard time dealing with a less-than-intelligent son.

I suspected A. would be smart, if not brilliant, but what I was really worried about was if I could teach him to be kind or not, because, let's face it, I was not always the kindest person. Kids are not always kind, either. And neither is the world, really.

This week was our first report card week of first grade. I don't know if all Montessori schools are like this, but because of the individualized emphasis, children aren't ranked. Therefore, a child could be at the top of his class in math and still get a "Meets Expectations" mark. The school is careful to emphasize to those parents among us who are achievement-oriented that "Meets Expectations" is a GOOD mark because they have high standards. "Exceeds Expectations," we're told, means the kid is like several grade levels ahead and is reserved pretty much for savants.

A., not surprisingly, got "Meets Expectations" and a couple plus marks on everything (except handwriting and being neat), but what really impressed me, what got me all ferklumpt and teary- eyed, was the little "Exceeds Expectations" check-mark on "Interactions With Others" on his first report card.

The teacher wrote that he is always friendly and has a positive attitude, and is "a delight." She put him next to the new kid because she knew he'd help him out and make sure he was included. She told us at our conference that she's impressed because even the most annoying kids don't seem to bother him.

He got a chocolate sundae for dessert last night and we are indulging his request for tamales tonight because while I'm glad he works hard in reading and math, I think he got his best mark in the very most important thing on that whole card.


Carrie said...

My SIL has always been obsessed with her children being smart--she's one of those people who declares my child will/will not fill-in-the-blank and one of her wills is that her children will be good in school (like G/T and valedictorian because she was). She was absolutely flabbergasted when I said that honestly, I just hope our children are nice, good people. Of course, I would love for them to be smart and talented and all that stuff but at the end of the day, I want a report like A. got. Because then I think I'll have done my job.

Good job, C & G--you're obviously doing something right. :)

Sarah said...

Clearly, you and A. have your heads screwed on right.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of both of you. I don't think the teacher could have said anything more wonderful than that! I hope he grows up to be president and leads the nation in becoming more caring.
Knot Mom

Beastarzmom said...

"She told us at our conference that she's impressed because even the most annoying kids don't seem to bother him."

I think LK gets just a little credit for that one!!!

I'm with you - I look at the grades, they're a measure of something, and mostly interesting, but the one I seem to care about most is the "citizenship" (or whatever they lable it) one.

But then, I do think that's the one most worth the work.

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