I wish I was home when school got out so I could make sure his homework was done right away. He has little organizational skills, and I fear he is just being lazy. Plus I worry that if he doesn't develop good study habits now - what will happen when he is in the real world? Am I nagging too much? Should I just let up? On the up side he is smart. He is smart enough to do the work and pass the classes. He is well-rounded. He is super funny and clever and extremely creative too. People like him. He is an overall good kid. Please send me your advice with what to do with his grades...
Speaking of grades... I was looking through my one and only box of childhood mementos. My mother saved all of my report cards and most of my state and national test scores. I don't ever really think I realized how well I did. In fact, I remember telling my friend that pretty much every report card said the same thing... "Too much talking" and "missing assignments". For some reason, this is what I remember. However, when thumbing through my report cards, I only came across those comments ONCE. How is it that I remembered those statements as being "the norm"? Did they really impact me that much?
I remember one teacher not liking me because I was NOT Amish. Let me explain. We lived in Northern Indiana, close to one of the largest Amish settlements in the country. We were going to move from the city school district to one in a neighboring town. This is where much of the Amish lived; in this town. Anyway, when my mom registered us for school, I found out that I would be in the same class as my Amish cousin, Daniel. The teacher's name was Ms. Christner. She was conservative Mennonite and therefore wore the prayer covering and simple dresses, etc. She was probably about 60 years old at the time. Well, to make a very long story short, let's just say Ms. Christner had a preference for the Amish kids. In her opinion they were quieter, more respectful, and hard workers. No doubt, all of those things were true. Basically, she just didn't want any trouble makers. And we all know that the English Kids (that's what the Amish call the non-Amish --"English"--cuz we speak English) are more out-spoken and therefore obviously a handful. Ok - so back to the story... Daniel had announced to the teacher that the new girl coming was his cousin. Ms. Christner was delighted -- until I arrived. She took one look at me and said, "You're not Amish!" Almost as if it were an accusation. "Nope," I said. "I am not Amish." She looked at me with disgust and pointed to my seat. It seemed I could do nothing to please this woman, hard as I tried. My hand-writing wasn't as neat as the Amish Girls'. And my desk was ALWAYS messy (especially compared to the Amish girls). And adjusting to a new school in the 4th grade and trying to fit in, I guess I was a little quirky. She was right, though. I wasn't very organized that year. I guess I didn't really enjoy school that year. Here is what she wrote at the end of the first semester: "There were several times that Emma could not find her completed assignments." Now, in my defense, I was for sure I had turned them in and SHE had just never given me credit for them.
"I enjoyed being Marilyn's teacher." What the Freak??? It was clearly MY report Card and SHE wrote the WRONG comments!!! Of course she "enjoyed" being Marilyn's teacher; Marilyn was AMISH!!! Lol!
In Middle School, as we started taking placement tests, I would score in the 80th or 90th percentile nationwide in everything except for Science. I hated Science, and I was sure it hated me too! In Science I always scored in the 60th percentile. It was never in the "above average" section; always in the "average". I don't know why, but for some reason, I thought this was bad. Anyway, I let myself believe that I wasn't any good in Science, so I never really tried. Look at what my Science teacher wrote on my 6th grade report card during the first quarter:
No beating around the bush on that one, eh? Nothing positive at all to say... simply "too much talking". You can almost hear the implied exclamation too.
I did have a few great teachers in High School, whom I will never forget. My friend Celise & I had Freshman Biology together. And contrary to my difficulty in the Sciences, Celise aced science. - no problem. Being the quirky freshman that we were, trying to fit into high school, we goofed around a lot in all of the classes we had together. In biology we even pulled pranks with the "leftovers" from the dissecting unit - - but that's another blog in and of itself. Anyway, one day after class, Mr. Schultz asked me to stay behind to talk to me. He told me that I had a C in his class. He told me that it was apparent that I liked to have a good time in his class, but that while my friend Celise had no problem with the material, my grades were another story. He told me that if he thought a C was my best effort, we wouldn't be having this conversation. He stated that even though Biology might be hard for me, there was no reason I shouldn't be able to pull a B. He then said that during his lectures he goes over every answer to every question on the quizzes and tests and that if I just took notes and paid attention I should do well.
I was amazed. I was shocked. I goofed around in his class - he could have easily just stuck me in the back of the room and ignored me, waiting for the semester to be over. Instead he took the time to encourage me and tell me that I had worth. I worked my butt off in that class, because I wanted to test his theory. He was right. Because of him I started taking notes in every class. And I managed to stay on the honor roll all through high school and graduated with a 3.67 GPA.
Funny, how I forgot about all of that until looking at my report cards. Funny how those few negative comments made by one or two teachers was what had stuck in my mind all of these years as being "the norm".
That being said, I don't want the "negative" comments to stick in my son's mind. I want him to want to earn better grades. But I also want him to believe that he can achieve it and that he is worth it; because he is.