I'm sure every parent dreads parent teacher interviews, or at least has some sort of apprehension going into them; no parent wants to hear their child is lagging behind or they need extra work, or the worst of their child is disruptive...
As a mother of a child who is on the Autistic spectrum I dread these days even more.
I knew we would breeze through Miss Moo's interview she's a bright little spark, popular with all the other girls, a social butterfly some would say, top level for reading, comprehension, maths, writing content is spot on, the only constructive thing her teacher said was her writing was "a little flicky" but that comes from her first year in the Victorian school system, and it's slowly improving on its own.
Miss Moo's teachers comment was she could have 24 of Miss Moo in her class and it would be perfect. I know Miss Moo's teachers eccentric, but 24 of my daughter you'd have to be bloody mad.
Walking over to Master Z's class I asked if there was anything he should confess before we got there, I got no last minute admissions of guilt, not that I really expected one.
Now the thing with my boy is, academically he is brilliant, I’ve never really had to worry, he doesn't struggle but he’s no child genius, he is happily somewhere in the middle plodding along for his age.
But socially, and this is where the autism comes into play, he just out right doesn’t get it.
Master Z is what I'd say, is an awkward child, for me I love it, it makes him unique, but most parents and there “normal” children don't necessarily understand him, and sadly don’t want to take the time to, so they just ignore him, leaving him outcast.
The conversation that took place that night during our parent teacher interview still have me reeling, I’ve partially digested information only to bring it back up again, sift through it and digest again (graphic I know but that’s how it is) here I was at 7pm (with a splitting migraine) sitting across the desk from a bubbly teacher whom looked no older than myself expecting her to tell me the usual stuff I hear about Master Z, how he was a quiet student, a pleasure, sometime withdrawn, produced great work but took his time about it, yahdah yahdah yahdah. But what she said floored me, made me sit up straight and fight back tears.
Master Z had (after sometime) befriended one of the classes more “popular” kids.
Now when I say popular what I mean to say loud, rowdy, boisterous, mischievous, some would dare say naughty kids in the class.
Now from my understanding this young lad comes with his own set of issues, some I’ve seen so many times before with my field of work as a special education aide, and majority of these kids appear rough but have hearts of gold and are just looking for someone to care (I have a soft spot for these kids I really do).
But my boy is my boy and I’m his mother I protect and guide him, he doesn’t have the regular coping social skills of other children, but only just finding out now of this up and down flourishing relationship, I was little help. So I listened very intently.
Turns out this kid has heart and is the confidence my son doesn’t know he lacks and the confidence and freedom of innocence I wish he had.
This kid lead my son, my quiet, meek, skinny bag of bones, never break a rule boy on his birthday along with the whole entire class on a conga line through the classroom just because it was his birthday and he thought he should, the smile couldn’t be wiped from Master Z’s face, Master Z has confidence with class for oral talks, he no longer feels nervous amidst his peers.
He even feels free enough to be cheeky and turn around during class work and chat to (disturbs) other students.
I know they say a bad influence is not a good influence but if it gives my boy the confidence and freedom to express himself any influence is a good influence.
Although the teacher and I (thankfully she was on the same page) are keeping a close eye on things and I have strong faith in Master Z's strong values of what is right and wrong, for the time being I think it's a good thing.