This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!
(This is from a few years ago but it still makes me laugh so I’m reposting it while I’m away)
I think I’ve mentioned before that I have three children. My oldest Keely, can be described as an overachiever. She was always willing to put in the extra time necessary to raise her grade from a 98 to a 100. She strived for perfection, no matter how long it took. She certainly set the tone for the kids in our family. Andie, 15 months behind Keely in life but only one year behind her in school, didn’t want to be “the dumb MacDonald,” so she spent much time studying as well. Both of the girls achieved a great deal, got beaucoup academic awards and are both happily ensconced at Duke University. Daniel is my third child. He is a boy, and so has a whole different way of approaching life. We had a conference at his school last week and yes, I’m a little jaded as I’ve been through this before, but this conference was on an entirely different level.
At the private school my kids attend, the kids don’t get report cards. Instead, there is a conference with the student, the advisor and the parents. The student leads the conference and reviews his grades and goals with the advisor and the parents. Needless to say, because we’re very lucky, conferences have never been a stressful activity in our house. That’s not to say that we haven’t had our own trials and tribulations. We have. It’s just that this “academic” stuff is one of our strong points. I direct all credit to my husband Kevin as they have all gotten his work ethic (I’m allergic to working hard), his nose-to-the-grindstone mentality (so I get bored, WHATEVER!), and engineering mind (I am ridiculously good at art projects so get off my goddamn back). At any rate, conferences are usually just about going over the grades and on occasion, discussing what courses to take the next semester. (Don’t tell anybody but sometimes we talk smack about other people at these conferences. SSSHHH…it’s a secret. Teachers know all the scuttlebutt!)
The girls were all about business. Work hard, get good grades and go to a good college. Daniel is wired differently. Keely once told me that she thought we should just go ahead and double him up in science because “he was just going to do mediocre no matter what courses he took.” “What is mediocre?” I asked. “You know”, she replied, “like a 96 or something.” Yeah, so we’re kind of skewed like that.
At any rate, we were in this conference and we’re talking about MY BLOG. Yep. That’s what we’re talking about. The teacher reads my blog and we were discussing Keely week as Keely was one of her favorite students (of course she was. Public Persona Keely was in that class. You remember, the Keely who doesn’t actually live in my house but shows up elsewhere). Finally, Kevin said that possibly we should let Daniel discuss his grades. This is where it all went south. Daniel had a form that he was reading from with questions – pointed questions – that he “supposedly” answered so he could run the conference. I’m here to show you Daniel’s carefully thought out Academic Review:
1. Compare the overall grade for each class to the goals you have in mind. How are you doing so far?
AP English Lang good
APUSH (AP US History) ok, I want it to be 1-2 points higher
AP Chemistry good
AP Spanish Lang good
(Ok, so far so good. I’m not showing the grades here but we’re pretty happy and he seems to want a SLIGHT improvement in APUSH. It’s all good)
2. Look at the details of each grade. What are your strengths? Homework grades? Test grades? Quiz Grades? Papers or Projects?
English essays have been good so far
APUSH multiple choice
AP Chemistry math problems
(Well Daniel, your Math strengths are EVERYTHING? That’s ok. This isn’t a very detailed analysis of where we could improve anything, is it? Am I missing something here?)
3. Where are your opportunities? How can you boost low grades? What steps could you take immediately to begin improving in one area?
Spanish speaking, listening, essays, vocab, reading comprehension
APUSH essays could be better
(Again, these answers seem to be lacking in details. Although you pretty much encompassed every aspect of Spanish, how could your APUSH essays improve? How could they be better? Are you going to enlighten your parents? How will you achieve these things? Why am I at this conference?)
4. Do you see any trends in the details presented in the Progress Report? Was there a point in time our grades changed one way or another? If so, what things might have contributed to that change? Are you very consistent? Why do you think that is?
My teachers like me. My grades are consistent because I do the work.
(Excuse me? My teachers like me? Was that somewhere in the questions above? Is that why you’re getting these grades, because YOUR TEACHERS LIKE YOU? You do the work? When? During half time of the football game? Ok, ok. It’s fine. Let’s move on)
5. Do you think there is enough information in each Progress Report to help you? What more would you like to know? Make a plan to get more information from your teacher!
Ms. Fung says I need to work at listening but I already knew that.
(Wait, if you already knew that have you considered getting EXTRA help? I don’t recall any discussion on this matter at home)
6. Make a plan! Write it out below and include at least three steps you will take.
(Wait. WHAT? THAT is your plan? Eat, sleep, school? This is why you’re in private school? What? Oh Daniel…)
I just couldn’t stop laughing. If they had asked for Four steps I’m sure “play Xbox” would have been the final step. I’m not sure this is the three step plan they were looking for. I’m positive it’s not what I was expecting.
So, there you have it. Life with Daniel. His grades are excellent so it’s not really a worry, it’s just so different after having two girls who were concerned about every point. I remember Daniel telling Kevin and I when he was a freshman that he had a test coming up. We asked him the next day if he was going to study or if he was planning on “winging it.” His reply? “Don’t worry, I’ve already wung it!” It’s interesting adjusting to an entirely different way of thinking.
I’d like to write more but I’m pretty sure that we’ve covered the basics of the conference and … WAIT A MINUTE … it’s step one of the Three Step Plan: I have to go make dinner to Daniel can EAT!