I really appreciate your enthusiasm for your job. Isn’t it fun when you sit down with a child and see him start to understand? Did you know, I was a paraprofessional before I got my teaching certificate? I loved working with kids too.
Today when you spoke to my student’s dad I know you had good intentions but you’ve put me in a difficult position. “You need to work more with Paul.” “He needs work on his letters and sounds and his numbers too.” You told him this in the middle of the office. I’m afraid the dad saw this as an ambush. He simply came in to pick up Paul for an appointment. If I’d known you said this when the parent was there I would have tried to correct this but I didn’t know what you’d said until Dad was gone.
While you see the deficits in Paul’s work, I see a little boy who knows 20 out of 26 upper case letters. And he knows 14 of 26 lower case letters, when I look at the letters he misses, there are many things that I question, he confuses h, n, r, he also confuses t and f and is there a possible vision problem? It’s in the back of my mind, but before I address this, I’ll make sure to plan some lessons on making those letters and comparing plastic ones too. These are all things to discuss in a conference that I will take time to prepare to hold. I never have a stand up conference; I want all my data in front of me, and I take time to prepare. I always respect the student and parent confidentiality by having these in a private setting.
You started working in February you don’t know how far he’s come. He didn’t know any letters when he came to me. And while he needs to know all his letters, he’s got 12 more weeks of school to work on this, and part of next year too, he’s in Young 5’s, not kindergarten. In two weeks I’ll sit down for conferences with Paul’s parents, and right now our standards for learning have him listed as satisfactory. I’m not sure how I’ll address the misinformation with the truth of this situation.
When you said, “he needs work on his numbers and counting.” Possibly you thought you were encouraging the father, but he’s strong in math. He’s able to form his numbers, correctly, he counts accurately (we call that one to one correspondence) to 30. That’s where I expect a kindergartener to be at the end of the year, and Paul is in Young 5’s. Even more exciting for his math’s future, he plays games where he sees a number and he’s able to math that number of items to the number. He’s doing fine. Please don’t assume just because a child gets help in one subject all areas are at risk.
Going forward please greet parents pleasantly, if you need to make a comment just say “I enjoy working with your son, he’s such a hard worker.” I’ll take care of progress reports and corrections.