Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's different...

I was sitting in Parent-Teacher conferences chatting cheerily about the idiosyncrasies of my sweet, funny children. As I spoke with the teachers, my heart was so warmed by the genuine love that they had for each of my kids. Each child has two teachers (that adds up at Christmastime let me tell you!) and they play off of each other so well.

My worries about Porkchop's need to lick various surfaces? Hasn't show up.

My concerns about Jellybean's desire to please in peer relationships and the ease at which she can be emotionally manipulated? The teacher already spotted it and was on top of things. (Her incessant need to say every single farkin word that comes into that brain of hers? still working on.)

Meatball's rigidity in everything? being redirected productively.

NOTHING was a big deal. Weaknesses were met with nonchalance and strengths developed. Things were going great at the conferences. And then sheets of paper were pushed my way. The "report card," (They don't give grades in Montessori) the reading scores, the standardized test scores. They were all saying one thing. They're bright. Very, very, bright. The test that they take three times a year that is supposed to measure the child's progress as she goes through the year? Pretty much aced the first month of school.

This news filled me with the worst kind of dread. This intelligence is a curse in my family. This is what conference's with Skaterboy's teachers were like...once. Now, he is a high school drop out trying to get his act together in community college. I had these scores, too. I flunked out of college. My brother is extremely bright, barely made it through school and took 6 years to graduate from college (the only one of all of us.)

When I was pregnant with Porkchop, I used to jokingly rub my belly and say, "Mediocre intelligence, high motivation. Mediocre intelligence, high motivation." It was only half a joke. In my family, high intelligence=under achievement. It meant being saddled with every report card saying, "Not living up to potential."

But, these teachers already read the sheets, the child, and in that split second the anxiety on my face. This is Montessori. It's different. Meatball may technically be in first grade but because they have multi-age classrooms, he is working with the older kids. It's not a big deal. They aren't singled out and strapped with that stupid moniker, "Gifted." (What the hell does that mean anyway?!) They don't have to suffer through tedious lessons about things they already know and then go to hours of enrichment activities to give them a challenge. They just work at their own pace. And so does everyone else. No stigma. The kids themselves don't even know that they aren't working at "grade level" because for them, there is no grade level.

This is why the thought of moving is terrifying. This school is the perfect place for my children to grow and learn. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate.


Bridgett said...

It has been a perfect match for us in the other direction. Not that S. isn't bright. It's just that her struggles have been rolled with instead of singled out and making her feel stupid. Which is what would have happened in a traditional setting.

Cakes said...

I think S is probably VERY bright, she just needs to learn how to make her brain fit into the mold of the "other" brains. Luckily for us, the mold is very flexible at CGMCS. I am so glad we are apart of this school.

Jenny said...

The new church sounds exciting/fulfilling/just what you need.
Leaving such a great school sounds very hard.

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...

Sorry, I posted the same comment twice. I was a bit keen on clicking.

Cakes said...

Jenny, I have always found you to be an enthusiastic commenter! LOL!