Thursday, March 17, 2011

Would the Real Sasha Please Stand Up

Yesterday was report card day at the girl's school.

I'll admit it.  I love report card day.  I loved it as a kid, as a teacher, and now as a parent.

As a kid, I loved reading about ME!  I loved discovering how my teacher saw me.  It felt good to hear my achievements and areas of growth expounded upon.  Let's face it.  Those report cards were pretty darn good.  Until grade 9 Math came along.  But that's another tale for another day.  I still owe Mr. Robert Loeppky a debt of gratitude for inching my mark up above the magic 50%.

As a teacher, I mostly loved report card day because the gruelling work of writing report cards was done.  But I loved it for other reasons too.  I love to write.  And sometimes I would craft the perfect paragraph to describe a student - it would capture their spirit and paint the perfect picture of who they were and I would sit back after reading it and enjoy the moment.

As a parent, I love report card day because I've got amazing girls.
I love to read the comments aloud while they all sit around after school and we celebrate the amazing things they've done and the amazing creatures they are.
I don't need to fear report cards.
I know my kids and their teachers - there are no secrets or surprises in those envelopes.

Until yesterday.

The girls home and we began the process.
First came Ellie - creative, thoughtful, compassionate, interested and invested Ellie.

Then came Sasha.
I began to read the opening comments.
          "social.... dramatic.... behavior is improving..... difficulty listening at the carpet....
        struggles with phonemic awareness.... can only count to 10....."    and on and on

As I was reading, my voice was getting more and more puzzled sounding.  Sasha looked up at me, and I down to her.  I couldn't believe what I was reading and neither could she.  This is the kid who reads and writes voraciously, is shy, reserved and quiet.  Counts to 100 and beyond and never disrupts the class for fear she may actually draw attention to herself.

"Don't worry about it Sasha"  I said with great encouragement and reassurance.
"Mrs. F doesn't know you like Mommy knows you.  I know you can do the things in your report card."

As I made supper I was mumbling and grumbling to myself about the inability of Sasha's teacher to adequately tell us who Sasha is in the classroom.  I was confounded by her reporting skills and frustrated with what I had read.  I kept saying, "it sounds like a different kid".

After the girls were in bed and Mike and I had time to sit together and really talk about it, we went through the report and marked everything we felt was grossly inaccurate or misrepresented.  We compared the language to her first report card...

         "Quiet..... respectful....... reads a variety of books ..... listens actively...... shy.....
          excellent counting skills........ positive leader....."  and on and on and on

....and grew increasingly hot under the collar.   By the end of our conversation I was firing off an email to the school principal explaining the situation and requesting a meeting with her and Mrs. F to discuss the discrepancies we noted.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night.  When someone doesn't get your kid, or see them the way you do it's hard to let it go.

This morning as I was getting breakfast ready the phone rang.

It was the school principal.

She had read my email first thing in the morning and discussed it with Mrs. F.  
Mrs. F had  gone pale.
She had given us a report card for Sasha alright.
A Sasha she taught in Kindergarten 2 years ago.
Copied and pasted those comments into the template and sent it off.
To me.

There was much apologizing and forgiving -
both on the phone and at the doorstep to the Kindergarten room this morning.

I felt a "Momma Bear" sense of pride.
I KNOW my kid.
In this case, the problem was easily rectified.

I couldn't help but think of all the parents who know their kids too,
but don't feel like they are hearing or reading about them in their report cards and conferences.

It happens.
The problems aren't as easily fixed as mine today.
I hope all of our kids are seen as they are, and known by someone.


  1. Oh My Word!! I can't imagine! Good for you for taking it in stride. You are blessed with 3 beautiful and smart girls. What a wonderful gift.

  2. WOW Karla!! I knew that had to have been the situation! But the best part of this story is picturing you absolutely livid inside as you bang off that email!! I would LOVE to have read a post of the email you would have wished to send off... look out! So glad that there was an easy light to see at the end of this tunnel and its awesome that your faith in Sasha superceeded some words on a paper. Hope Sasha is not too damaged and can hold her head high knowing that it was just a stupid mistake.
    Yay momma bear!