I met with DD's teacher today. I sent her an email yesterday and she requested I come in to talk today. I'm not entirely certain how I feel. I'm still processing a lot of it and right now the only thing I'm certain of is that the teacher and I are not on the same page.
Regarding homework she said that homework is not mandatory. Which was never ever mentioned before-and I would remember if it had been because it would've shocked me so much to hear! Apparently, as the parent, it is up to me to determine how much homework DD does. She was "shocked" at how much time was spent on it. Which I'm a little lost on, how can you send home the amt of homework she does, add on top of it what she recommended that DD do to improve her reading and writing and then be surprised its taking so long? So the way I see it, she basically took the blame off of herself for giving it out and put it on me for making DD do it. When I mentioned the research paper, she said we shouldn't have had to look anything up, the they'd been talking about bats in class. So we should've just been asking DD a question a night and have her write out the answer. And since DD now hates writing and gets very upset very quickly over it, we shouldn't force her to write, it'll just happen. Then why the teacher was complaining about how poor her writing was, I don't know.
I heard a lot about how Montessori gives students plenty of room to grow. She talked on and on about some kids who were reading at the second grade level and doing addition and subtraction and how wrong it would be to hold them back because it "isn't kindergarten work" but never anything about how the students who are behind are helped. Nor did she ever give me a chance to get a word in edgewise.
She told me that she felt our parent/teacher conference was very positive and discussed only DD's progress in school so she was very surprised I had so many concerns. I couldn't disagree more! Aside from a quick overview of how DD is doing fine in math, everything she talked about the whole fifteen minutes (exactly as we were shooed out the door once our 15 was up) was about what DD needed to do to catch up in class. (That one surprised me so much I think I literally stopped with my mouth open and was unable to come up with anything to say about it.)
She skirted over the socializing issue entirely by saying she expects talking because she wants them to be having fun and steered the conversation in a different direction.
One huge concern of mine was that DD perceived that the teacher had refused to help her with her writing. Now, I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding. I even said that, both in the email and multiple times in person. However, the teacher got defensive with me and claimed that she doesn't know where a situation like that would've even come up and that she's not going to go back and forth with me on it--even though I'm agreeing with her that that was probably what happened! I just wanted to know if she had any ideas for a solution because there is only so much I can do from my end. In the end she grudgingly said she and the asst. teacher would make a special effort to offer help to DD but said she had no idea what else could be done.
The entire conference, I never saw her smile. But she proclaimed herself to be a very positive person and said she wasn't sure what she could do to make me more positive about the situation.
I can't tell you the number of times she said to me "I don't think you understand how school works". She never really clarified for me what I wasn't understanding or how it did work.
She even asked why we were sending DD to school. If it was for the academic reasons or social because she's had parents send their kids in for social reasons only and were not at all concerned about how their kids did academically. She said she's not all that concerned about assessments or how kids are doing academically as long as they are progressing.
So in our parent/teacher conference she said that DD needed to be doing more daily in school and not socializing so much, her writing needed extra help and we needed to push reading. Now its she's showing progress which is all that matters, if she doesn't like writing she doens't have to, she should be socializing and why am I pushing for her to be doing so much outside of school. Is anyone else confused by this??
In the end, I left feeling chastised for having concerns and wanting to talk with her about them. I'm really not pleased about the way the conference went. I don't think I should be treated like the bad guy because I asked some questions or was making DD do so much work outside of school! Work the teacher send home or recommended DD be doing daily!! DH just nodded when I talked with him about it and said ok, time to get DD into a different school. So I guess that would be what we are doing. I really hope its the right move for her.
Thank you all again for your responses! I really appreciate all the help you've given me!