Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Parent-Teacher Conferences

We had parent-teacher conferences last night for both of our boys.  I was nervous and excited beforehand, and now I'm beaming.

When Jared and I got to the car after the conferences, I let out an excited squeal as well as a breath I was apparently holding for about two years.

I reminded Jared of the years past when Nolan had good conferences and we would secretly say to each other, "This is going to be a very different story when Griffin is in school!"

What a difference a couple years' time and about 2 billion prayers make.

I am so proud of my boys for how hard they have worked.  Some of you may remember the very difficult days when Nolan started kindergarten.  I called my sister crying every single day.  Everyday.  Nolan's teacher called me every day at lunch to check in and report how he was doing that day.  This went on for two full months.  It was rough.

Of course you all know we were very anxious about how Griffin would do in school, considering his Asperger's diagnosis and the struggles he has.  Then add in that we moved RIGHT before school started, and you can imagine how nervous we were.

I thought no teacher would ever compare to Nolan's amazing kindergarten teacher, but this year both of my boys' teachers belong in the same Hall of Teacher Fame as that first one Nolan had.  These ladies have been an absolute blessing and answer to prayer for us.

I praise God for orchestrating our move to this house, bringing us to a school that we love, and matching my boys up with teachers perfectly suited to them.

Nolan is at an age (second grade) where he has found his sense of humor.  He says hilarious stuff and enjoys when his classmates laugh at his jokes.  I was wondering if this was perhaps becoming a problem in class, and I was also secretly worrying that he may end up as a Class Clown and forget that he is supposed to be a Godly influence.

Nolan's teacher specifically told us that she loves his humor and that he makes her job better.  She assured us that he knows when humor is appropriate and when it's time to be serious.  She said she's someone who appreciates humor, and I just thought how perfectly matched she is to our Nolan.

That's just one example of how awesome Nolan's teacher is.  She has been so flexible, letting me bring Nora with me when I volunteer in class.  She challenges Nolan to keep learning and developing.  She recognizes where he excels and makes new paths for him.  She sees areas where he needs extra encouragement and finds creative ways to lead him.

Griffin's kindergarten teacher is equally amazing.

Griffin's teacher has a seemingly endless supply of patience for her students.  She is a pillar of wisdom.  She told us that she can see in Griffin's eyes when he's getting frustrated, and she knows how to gently touch his shoulder and talk to him to calm him down.  She also knows his cues for when he's getting bored in class.  She accommodates his personality without judgment.  During our conversation, I mentioned how stressful Christmas programs are for Griffin (and us!), and she immediately changed where Griffin will stand for the program so he will be more comfortable (without us even asking her to make any changes).  She also recognizes his reading and math super powers and continually finds ways to challenge him.  I love that she wants him to keep learning even though he's past grade level in these areas.

(Sidenote:  Griffin's teacher said she gets the impression that Griffin thinks he has to be perfect all the time.  She said he seems to be afraid of making mistakes.  I, uh, really don't know WHERE he would get that tendency toward perfectionism.  It's a mystery, really.  Hmm.)

I could give lots of examples of how she has treated Griffin in a way that solves his problem, calms him down, and teaches him how to handle situations in life.  Her gentle but clear approach seems to be more effective than my yelling.

I just have to share with the world how grateful I am for amazing teachers.  Not all teachers are like the ones we have this year.  I recognize that our teachers have families, health concerns, and lives outside of school.  Not to mention that they have more students than just my boys!  Somehow they manage to care for my kids as if they were the only ones in the classroom.

These parent-teacher conferences gave me a little confidence boost and made me think maybe we're not doing everything wrong as parents.  :)

Griffin has told me before that he tries very hard not to get in trouble at school.  I confess that my reaction was, "Well why can't you make that your goal at home, too?"  I realized last night that I need to just be grateful that he's doing so well at school and has the abilities to follow the rules, interact with kids, make friends, and grow academically.  This is a time to celebrate all that is going well.

I know we're not that far into this parenting journey, and there are a lot of ups and downs ahead, but I have to be very purposeful about enjoying the successes, big or small.  I think attending two amazing parent-teacher conferences is a huge success.

We already knew this move was part of God's plan for us, but we got further evidence of that last night.  Nolan wrote a letter to go in the packet of papers his teachers presented to us at the conference.

Dear Mom and Dad, thank you for our family moving so I could be at this AWESOME school!  I hope you are proud of my math because it is AWESOME!!!  Love, Nolan

Ahhhh.  That'll make a mom feel good.

I frequently share my struggles here on this little blog, and I just had to share this triumph as well!


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

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