This is just a vent – I am not expecting to actually do anything about this. I just try to laugh about it because otherwise what can you do...
DS is having his first trial day in elementary school on Thursday so I asked his preschool teachers to fill in in the mandatory information leaflet about rising first graders (mandatory for them to provide, I do not actually need to show it to anybody). I am not expecting them to tell schools anything I couldn’t relay myself but I want their recommendation for early entry into first grade, which is a box to tick on the form.
They did their best to write something about “special interests and/or skills”, namely “in letters, story-telling/reporting, creativity”, whatever they mean by this – maybe it’s code for “he’s reading and writing but we don’t really want to talk about it”?
Then they could tick one or more areas they feel should be watched by the school because the child may show “special talents or a special need for support”. So they kindly inform elementary schools that the one area they feel needs watching is his “socio-emotional development”. Just like that, no further information given. (“Verbal development” and “cognitive development” were ignored).
I remember them complaining about that section at our last conference because they felt they could never safely tick a box since there wasn’t any space provided for an explanation whether it was an area of strengths or of deficits, so I informed them that there appeared to be a newer version with asterisks that referred to “please provide more information overleaf” (yes, I am anal enough to have researched this form beforehand) and kindly obliged with a printout a few days later. They used it but ignored the asterisks. Maybe it was too much to ask. Wonder what the schools will think. (DH said if they ask let’s just sell it to them as a “special talent” and to hell with what they think).
And just in case we were wondering by that time whether we had only been deluding ourselves that our child may have shown some talents justifying early entry in the first place, they ticked the box at the bottom “recommend early entry because...” and on the dotted line, wrote “cognitive development”.
That’s it for that form. So informative. I’d be kind of regretting my printer ink, if I hadn’t used my work printer.
The best explanation I can think of is that they just do not feel comfortable talking about cognitive strengths since it isn’t their field, developmental preschool being all about socio-emotional development. Or that there is no need to talk about or watch strengths altogether, after all a strength means that everything is hunky-dory, right? Let’s just point out deficits instead.
Or maybe our child doesn’t have strengths at all and is merely generally socio-emotionally screwed up. Or so the schools will think, I guess. I’d probably better get used to this preference for deficits with educators.