When my youngest son began kindergarten, I was certain he was going to knock it out of the park. He was extremely motivated to keep on pace with his two grade-level above brother and at the beginning of the year, this really showed. As the year progressed, his teacher grew less impressed with his academic performance and he was on occasion, acting up in class. At home, I still found him to be a bright and engaged student. In my eyes, his behavior also remained static as I saw no significant changes. Eventually, his teacher requested a conference with me. When she approached me about it, my stomach dropped and I had that same pit of dread on the day of the conference.
To summarize, she told me that he was not articulating well. She said he didn’t put in his best effort with his school work and he didn’t participate fully in group work. He was often quiet and it took a lot to engage him.
It made no sense to me. I shared that I thought it was possible he was bored as he was reading above grade level and was already familiar with a majority of the classwork being presented to him.
She did not agree.
That was not a fun day.
I was distraught for a long time after this conference. I questioned everything. How could I be so wrong about my child? Was he really doing that bad in school? What could I do to help him be more successful?
During this time, it would have been a life-saver to have someone like Dr. Christine Fitzgerald to offer me guidance. She is a wonderful psychologist on staff at Riverview Counseling Services with extensive field experience as a school psychologist (over 15 years!). She has the ability to take the emotion out of these intensely personal situations for parents, and help us see eye-to-eye with our child’s teacher. Ultimately, both parties want the child to succeed and that’s where Dr. Fitzgerald’s focus will be.
As it turned out for my son, when he began first grade, his teacher saw his potential much in the same way I did. However, it took me a long while to feel confident in my own ability to properly evaluate my son’s school performance. If you ever have any doubts about your own child’s behavior or school performance, make sure to contact Dr. Fitzgerald and she will answer any questions you may have. To schedule an appointment, please call Cheryl Denz at 630/587-3777 x103.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent