Last week I went to my very first parent/teacher interview at Noëlle's school. As I sat there, on an itty bitty chair- my knees scrunched up near my chin- I had to smile. Today would be exciting for many parents; hearing how all their hard work teaching and preparing their little ones for school had paid off. They would learn about their kid's social interaction with other kids; they would hear about their child's budding friendships. They would be told their kid has great manners, and silently pat themselves on the back for helping teach them their ABCs and 123s. Today, these parents would receive all their kid's art work- masterpieces that will adorn their walls for now, and their memories forever. They would tour the classroom and envision a moment of their little one's incredibly busy, and highly stimulated day. Parents will get instructions and encouragement on how to help their darlings continue to grow and nurture their sponge-like brains. The anxiety, nervousness, and doubt parents felt on the first day of school as they waved goodbye to the bright yellow school bus carrying their sweet child for the first time would dissipate forever with this interview. Their kid is fine- doing wonderfully actually.
As I sat there at the 12 inch high table waiting for the teacher, I knew that my experience would be slightly different. Noëlle started school in January of last year, so we weren't entirely new to her classroom and routine. We wouldn't be receiving a pile of Noëlle's art work to take home; the teaching staff is always so proud and excited when Noëlle makes something that they send it home right away so that we can revel in her cleverness and artistic ability immediately. There will be no life altering surprises about Noëlle's progress- her teacher and EA send a letter home every day telling us how her day was and what she did. We've already been told who our daughter's special friends are: a handful of boys and girls who go out of their way to include her, help her, and play with her. We've seen first hand how compassionate and accepting the kids in her class are on our numerous visits to her classroom.
"Why are you going today Hun? We kind of already have all this stuff covered," my husband correctly pointed out. I guess the truly honest answer would be that I was going for myself. I still wanted the experience that the other parents of four year olds get; I wanted to feel the same as them, like I have a place within their community. I really just wanted a small taste of what it would be like if Noëlle was "regular." At the end of my time with the teacher I hadn't heard anything that I didn't already know- and I was incredibly pleased. That told me that Noëlle's school was doing a fantastic job keeping us informed and involved. I left feeling confident in their ability to care for, and lead Noëlle. I was happy that she had kids around her who thought she was great. I left with many of the same feelings that parents of normal/typical kids have after their parent teacher interviews- and for that, I was eternally grateful.