Friday, August 24, 2012

A Test

The last two days have been a bit of a test.....Back To School Night last evening and Open House today.  This was my chance to see who these teachers are and what they will be able to do to help Ballerina and Music Man.

First of all, let me say that I got my wish in Ballerina's teacher.  It was the specific person I was hoping for.....while being kind, she is extremely strict and the children in her class learn very quickly that this is NOT a woman to cross.  This is EXACTLY what Ballerina needs.....she needs to understand that lines in the sand have been drawn and she needs to behave in an acceptable manner.  I think this teacher will give her that structure.

Overall, I spent most of the night in Music Man's classroom listening to his teacher.  I am familiar with the kindergarten curriculum (which is relatively new) as Big Brother also experienced this same curriculum (he was the first class, so his teachers have been learning along with him).  Even though the Learning Center follows the same curriculum, things are presented in a slightly different fashion, so that was the presentation I attended.  I really do like much of what this teacher does.....she too is kind but firm and her reputation is untouchable.  I know of several children who have been through her class since we began learning about educating Autistic children and, as a parent, you couldn't wish for better.  The only surprise was that there would be 3 first graders in the class as well (how this would be handled was explained to me [and the other parents]) and I know we are not alone in this.....the other program we considered had combined classes throughout elementary school.

Then, after the Learning Center teacher was done, I went to talk to Ballerina's teacher.  She had finished talking to the parents, but we talked briefly about my concerns and fears and made my recommendations about how to handle certain potential situations.  I had written a letter to her, but chose to not bring it in (it really just didn't feel right to do that when the time came) and when I left, I felt much better about the situation.  I knew her slightly from personal experience, but mostly by reputation.  This conversation proved to me that her reputation is well-earned and, like Music Man's teacher, she is quite firm with these children while still providing a fun and loving atmosphere.

For the Open House, Big Brother was in his element.....he went in, met his teacher, bragged about his trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house (how he went to a planetarium and the Intrepid, attended a carnival, swam in a lake, etc).  He spent much of the time with Ballerina and I, giving her a tour of the school.  She learned where not only her classroom was, but where the cafeteria, art room, gym, music room, library, and computer lab were located.

But she did start testing her teacher.  She didn't WANT to look at Mrs. R.  She didn't WANT to do the "assignment" (scavenger hunt around the classroom and school).  She didn't WANT to put the stickers for success on the paper, but put them on her fingertips.  But Mrs. R insisted.  And Ballerina complied....not exactly willingly, but by the end, quite enthusiastically.

Overall, it was a good couple of days.  My anxiety level has dropped slightly and hopefully things will feel even better once I drop them off at school on Monday.  In the meantime, it's time to enjoy the weekend!

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