“Okay, Cate. What is the teacher going to say about you today?” I ask, standing at the front door ready to head to the school for teacher conferences.
“He is going to say good things,” Cate responds, moving her arms nervously behind her back in different pretzel like configurations.
“Is he going to say anything bad?”
“Yes. He is going to tell you that I disrupt the class and that I yell out a lot.”
“Haha, yeah, she’s right!” Catelyn’s teacher responds about 30 minutes later as I sit across from him in the classroom for our conference, “She is a great student, who is doing really well academically. She is a great debater, and even though she is completely wrong in her argument at times, you still want to believe her because she brings up a lot of valid points. She is really amazing that way!” The teacher laughed and looked down at the paper in front of us. He used the tip of his pen to direct my attention to his next point.
“Catelyn has a lot of impulsive behaviors and will act or speak out without thinking first. I put it on her list of things to work on.” The teacher put his pen flat on the table and sat back. “Catelyn has a lot of energy. I realize I cannot stop her intensity. If I mention it, she shuts down and will disengage from learning. I realized with Catelyn, I need to harness her energy. Make sure she is aware that it is okay to be energetic, but that there is a line she is not to cross. If she gets close, I just draw an imaginary line on the desk to let her know she is toeing it and to take a mental step back. Sometimes she still goes past the line, but we are going to continue to work on those impulses in a way that does not inhibit Catelyn being Catelyn.”
I was happy and impressed by the teacher. I was also impressed to see Cate’s self-assessment that indicated her awareness to the same issue.
And then as I turned the page, I was even happier to read about her feelings for the year. Especially the last part:
“Having great friends who like me.”
THAT is something she has wanted for a long time. And after a lot of hard work in therapy, she’s made some great friends.
Great teacher + Great friends = Cate is in a better spot.
When I got to Declan’s room, I learned the teachers had witnessed his first outburst of anger and rage from Declan. In his learning support room, he was asked to work on sight words. Declan did not want to, but the teacher pushed a little. Declan clenched his teeth and screamed. He flapped his arms put his hands up in rage. He was eventually able to calm down and enjoyed the rest of his day.
Having only a couple of incidents this year, Declan is having a wonderful year. He is learning and retaining a lot of knowledge. He is listening and following directions. And after hearing about his latest incident along with the rest of the positive feedback from the teacher, I smiled when I saw his self-assessment as well.
Both kids surprised me with their self-assessments, I must say! To have this level of introspection! I would have thought Declan would have colored all the smiley faces, you know, because he likes smiley faces. Granted his 1/1 aide might have helped him stay on task, but the responses look true to his actual feelings.
And I never thought Cate could admit she was not good at something.
These assessments were great, for the kids to take the time to think about themselves. And for me and the teachers to see how the kids feel about their likes, school and learning.
I have to say, I am impressed!