I got an email from O’s teacher yesterday. It read:
I am having some concerns with Olivia. Every day since the beginning of the year, we have been practicing the letter of the day, writing our name, and also writing letters on the backs of our papers. I’m sure you have seen many of these come home with Olivia. Up until now, Olivia has been able to do all of this on her own without a problem. Now that we have returned from break, she will not even attempt to write any of the letters, she simply scribbles on her paper. We seem to be really having a bit of trouble getting her to focus even when we are sitting with her, giving her reminders and guiding her. I was wondering if you had been noticing anything different at home?”
I responded with:
“Thank you for sharing your concerns.
I’ll be honest and let you know that her time at home over the holiday was pretty lax. We didn’t work on much school-wise, which may be part of the problem.
She’s also not been sleeping well lately (as in for the past week or so), waking me up several times in the night, tossing and turning. I don’t know if tiredness might be affecting her concentration in class. I put her to bed at the usual time each night (between 7:30 and 8:00) but she tends to wake around 11:00 and then toss and turn (and even try to talk to me) sometimes for up to two hours.
She’s still eating well, so I don’t think she’s getting sick but I’ll keep an eye on that.
My husband and I will talk tonight and start working with Olivia that much more on her writing and concentration.
Thank you again for letting me know how it’s going in the classroom. We definitely want to stay on top of any issues and concerns that crop up.
One more thing, Olivia has a dentist appointment on January 30. She needs a couple of fillings but we weren’t able to get her in any sooner. Her teeth might be causing her pain, which might be causing her concentration problems.”
The thing is, I think this might just be Olivia. I think she’s going to need another week or so to settle back into the routine of school. I’m not making excuses for her but I know that sometimes, things take a little longer for her than they do for others her age. And I sort of wish her teachers would cut her just a little bit of slack.
She’s basically a good kid. She’s funny and sweet and yes, she likes to scribble on paper but I feel like that’s more of a developmental thing than a behavioral. She’s still in the very early stages of writing. This is part of that stage. She’s learning at her own pace and trying to figure out where she fits in.
I like her teacher. I do. I like her a lot. I think she works hard to keep the kids engaged and wants them all to succeed. But I think she might need to redefine ‘success’ when it comes to Olivia. Heck, there are days when I feel like we’ve reached a point of success when we don’t have a potty accident (at school. At home, it’s been months and months and months since we’ve had an accident.)
I feel like the fact that she can write her name is success.
Olivia amazes me every single day and I want her to know that. I want the world to see how amazing she is instead of comparing her to seven other kids her age and finding her accomplishments to be subpar. It makes me sad to think that this is happening and I need to figure out how to fix it for her.
On the other hand, I did remind her this morning that when she got to school, she needed to try hard to concentrate on the work her teacher assigned her. I told her that when it was letter writing time, she needed to actually write the letters instead of scribbling. A little reinforcement can’t hurt, right?