Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Miss Lethargic

I have a confession. 

The entire time we were snowed in I was stressed beyond belief.

Lael got her Report Card that Friday.

It was not very different from the first one.
It stated that Lael is a "joy" to have in class but they are "concerned" about her keeping up in class.

She often doesn't finish her work and the results from her assesment were "below average".

It said that so far this quarter she is doing well but that we need to come up with a plan to keep her on target.

This is about the point were I almost threw up.

Ok, so her teacher left the beginning of Jan to have a baby and won't be returning.  The assistant has taken over for the remainder of the school year.

But if you remember, before she left we had a conference and I was told that Lael had improved significantly.

In addition to that, all her school work that had been sent home was complete and correct. Granted there were a few notes sent saying "Lael had difficulties with the time unit" and I would work with her. But nothing more had been said.

It said that Lael has a hard time focusing during instruction time and that she often seems lethargic. 

That is where I throw in the bullshit card.

How is it that she seems LEGTHARGIC?  I mean really?  The kid gets 11hrs of sleep and gets up without complaint.

I spoke to Lael about this and found out that she tells her teacher she's tired when she's taking a test because she doesn't feel like doing it.


So guess who burnt a hole in her ass while she was home on SNOW STORM VACATION?

What I also did was email her teacher about my concerns.  Here's a snipet of what I sent:

...."After the last parent teacher conference I was under the impression that Lael was improving in many of of troubled areas. But from the looks of it nothing much has changed since the last grading period.

The school work that comes home looks complete and correct so I thought she was doing well. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get her on the right track because she if very capable of doing the work.

I work with her on her spelling words, reading, time, math and money at home and she seems to really get it but for some reason it's not reflecting when in class."

And here is some of her response:

"My comments posted on her report card relates to Lael's 2nd grading period assessment, which dates back to the beginning of January. This test included language arts and math skills that deals with: writing, editing, grammar usage, story elements, even and odd numbers and telling time. At that time, her performance was relatively low in those areas.

I have (and currently) given short, informal remediation assignments to help the students that struggled in those areas. By doing so, I have noticed significant gains in Lael's performance. If it helps, I can formally track Lael's performance by retesting her in these areas; that way we can compare and contrast her skills. Then, we can use the data by implementing remediation or enrichment work. Let me know if you believe this will benefit you as you continue to work with Lael at home with these skills."

I felt good about that.  She asked me to give her a week or so and that she would get back with me with the results.

So I took advantage of the time at home to work with Lael.  She really did have the swing of things but the extra practice made her even more comfortable.

I explained to her that she would be taking the same test and that is was important that she cut the shit (ok I didn't really say that) and do her very best.

I also explained to her that if she didn't do her work correctly and on time that she would not be moving along with her friends to the 2nd grade. 

Yeah, call me parent of the year but I felt it was important to be honest with her about what the consequences could be.

So yesterday I ask her how school was, she says that while everyone else had choice time she had to do some tests.  She said she finished on time and that she knew all the answers.  She said that the only mistakes she made were writing a few "3's" and "7's" backwards. 

I hope she's right.  I guess I'll find out.

In the meantime, I'll hold my breath and, well....wait.


  1. I've always thought that you have a bright girl on your hands. I still think that.

    Lael says and does things beyond her years. I'm wondering if she struggles more with HOW things are done (tests, etc) rather than with actually understanding the content.

    I was in "special" reading and math classes starting in second grade. I didn't always stay behind, but the thing for me was that I kind of shut down at school. I was more comfortable at home and my parents couldn't figure out why I struggled off and on at school. I was also TOTALLY distracted by socializing. I EXCELLED at the stuff school teaches you about relationships and life. I was wise beyond my years when it came to communication, empathy, giving, sharing, compromising, etc.

    I'm telling you all of that because I have a hunch your smart girl DOES know her stuff, she just struggles with random testing, if that makes sense. Maybe she's going one direction in her head and heart and then all of the sudden "sit down, Lael, you're behind so you need to catch up by answering these questions correctly." I know it needs to be done, and I think you and her teacher are doing right by her, I'm just suggesting that maybe she gets thrown off sometimes.

    WOW. LONG COMMENT. Sorry friend. Hope I made sense. I'm tired :)

  2. Wow Heather, thanks. That sounds just like her. She loves to talk and is the sweetest kid. She can do the work and THAT'S what's frustrating. If she couldn't do it that would be a whole other issue. I just don't know if holding her back is the answer or if I should just work to keep her focused!

  3. I was just telling a friend yesterday that I think we "protect" our kids too much. They deserve to know, in kid friendly manner, of course, the consequences of their actions.

    Cause and effect....

    I don't think it's a good idea to hammer on the negatives but she should at least know. Especially if she CAN do the work but doesn't WANT to or doesn't FEEL like it - which is what it sounds like.

  4. I had this problem with my oldest when she was in first grade. Turns out that it wasn't that she didn't know the stuff, but that she just didn't feel like doing the work and taking tests because it didn't deal with fairies or animals or anything pertaining to Disney. She never got the memo that tests are important and she is being GRADED on her work. If it wasn't important to her, she didn't give it her proper attention.

    She has gotten much better about it and even though she still hates taking time doing things such as math, she knows there are consequences if she doesn't do her best. Not from me, but from her teacher...she hates letting down her teacher.

    First grade is definitely an adjustment!!

  5. Lindy, I know. I didn't want to scare her with what could happen but I wanted her to UNDERSTAND. I hope she got it.

    Gibby, what did you do to get her to understand that the tests are important? Did you punish her or take away things if she didn't do her best?

  6. Maybe try explaining to Lael what these tests are meant to do-- i.e., to see if she is ready for 2nd grade, ready to learn new things. If she doesn't take the tests seriously, the teachers might think she needs to re-learn things (that she actually already knows!)... Good luck. She is a smart girl. She just needs to understand.

  7. Glad the teacher was responsive. I'm sure she did just fine.

  8. I had similar issues with my (now) second grader last year. I think he got so used to everything being pretty easy in Kindergarten that when it came time to put some effort into his school lessons, he'd take the "I'd-rather-not" route. Yeah... that didn't sit well with me, and he was told in no uncertain terms that behavior was to stop immediately. At least Lael's teacher is keeping the lines of communication open. That's monumentally helpful! Let us know how she did! :)

  9. How wonderful that Lael's teacher is working with you this way.

    Lael's nonchalant response hit home for me. My daughter is the same way. If you don't mind, please post updates on this as they happen. Something tells me I'll need to start taking notes.

  10. I think you're right to tell her the consequences...I'm a teacher and kids are babied WAY too it's good to be truthful with them. A little fear never hurt anyone!!

  11. Miss D. has a hard time finishing things in a timely manner. She is so easily distracted. Sigh.

    I'm glad you got on it immediately though. It sounds like she just thinks testing is boring. Which of course, it is! But you are right, she needs to know that it's important.

  12. No, I didn't punish her, but I just laid it on the line for her...either she gets to work or she fails first grade while her friends move on. Between that and her teacher encouraging her but NOT babying her, she got the picture. Don't get me wrong, even though she's a ton better, there are still times when she steers off course. For instance, last year they had their first standardized tests she just thought they were for fun and scored OK, but no where near her potential. We had to talk about those as well. She re-took them this year and her scores were much, much higher, even placing her in a different reading class. Now she is starting to get the message!

  13. Lethargic seems to be a bit of an exaggeration. I think I would reserve the word "lethargic" for older folk and not a six year old. What is wrong with this teacher??


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