Sunday, March 19, 2006

I Have The Most Average Child

Last Friday was the day that children everywhere dread. It was also the day that parents everywhere look forward to with an evil little smile and the wringing of hands in a very 1950's B-movie mad scientist sort of way. I'm speaking, of course, about Report Card Day.

(insert creepy pipe organ music here)

The last time report cards came home, I was sure that I was going to open the envelope to find out that my little girl wasn't only a genius, but that she was the most genius-est kid they had ever seen. "Light-years ahead of the rest!" and, "Mind-bogglingly brilliant!" would surely be just a couple of the glowing comments.

Okay, maybe I was a tad over-optimistic...

What I saw was a veritable parade of "3's" right down both pages of her Report Card. I don't know how they score kids where you are, but apparently the "Scale from 1 to 5" method is preferred in my neck of the woods. So, "3" being the absolute middle-ground between a failing "1" and Beautiful Mind "5", it appeared that my daughter was dead average... in all 38, count 'em, 38 categories.

My first reaction was to proclaim her teacher too lazy to put an effort into the report. I wanted to get in touch with every other parent so we could compare just how little effort was put in on the rest of the reports. I wanted to take the papers and wave them in the principal's face, demanding the teacher's immediate expulsion from the school and teaching in general.

In the end, I tried a more sane approach and went to the Parent-Teacher Interview.

I was assured that the reason for all those "3's" was that the students had not yet done enough testing to produce definitive grading results. She told me that my daughter was doing fine and not struggling at all. She promised I would see more accurate grading in the next Reporting Period.

So, it came as no little shock when I saw a second column of "3's" when I opened the latest Report Card. Now I'm livid.

Maybe my kid isn't the next Einstein. For starters, she has way better hair... But I know that it's impossible for her to be average in every single way that our illustrious school board has decided to evaluate our children. Like every other kid out there, she has her strengths, and she has her weaknesses. I see them, so why hasn't her teacher made the same observations?

What good does it do to "gloss over" a Report Card? There's no way to tell what she needs to work harder on, or where I should be giving her praise for a job well done. And what's going to happen next year when she gets a teacher who actually gives a crap about the job (my fingers are already crossed), and it turns out that my little girl is behind everyone else in some fundamental area? Who pays? My kid, that's who.

I can tell you one thing: There will definitely be a phone call to the principal tomorrow. Will I speak with him rationally about my concerns with a member of his staff? Or will I snap and "go off", making a fool of myself? Right now, folks, it's a 50-50.

Stay tuned...
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