Friday, March 19, 2010

It all comes down to this.

Today we had our parent interview at the school we hope to send the kids to next year.

I wore my pearls and my dress pants, Sami put on a (gasp) button down shirt, and we made our way over to the school, trying not to seem too overwraught. Okay, desperate. We were trying not to seem desperate.


We sat outside in the wind, waiting to be let in. Their was another set of parent shaving their interview ahead of us. The mother kept going outside to talk on the phone - so the interview was running long. I was annoyed.  I thought it was rude to make us wait without acknowledging us sitting there alone outside, locked out of the building "because the secretary wasn't there."  I thought it was incredibly rude of the other parent to not SHUT HER FUCKING PHONE OFF for her parent interview with the principal of the school she wanted to send her kids to. So I was already in a bit of a snit by the time the principal opened the door and let us actually come INDOORS. It was like some weird test, to see if we had the strength of character to sit and be uncomfortable and Wait Our Turn, and then graciously accept her half-hearted apology which was something along the lines of "Thanks for waiting, at least it wasn't raining."


We sat down and talked about the kids, about what we were looking for in a school, and were basically told that Lucy was going to be offered a spot, but that they hadn't decided about Max. His test scores were low, he wasn't very motivated during the testing, etc. etc . etc.

I am not going to make excuses for Max. He has his challenges, but is a sweet-natured, bright kid. He responds well to structure, and to authority. He is pretty compliant and well-behaved. He is also, well, maybe kind of, to explain. The public school here does not expect much from their students, and so he learned to do the bare minimum to get by. Which is, ironically, WHY we are trying to get him into this private school. We want him to do better, and we want his teachers to expect him to do his best.

I have concerns about the fact that they tested him before he had ever visited the campus, or met the teacher, or interacted with any of the students. It seems like the entire admissions process is based not on my kid - but on his test scores, and how he behaves when he is being tested. Lucy tested like a champ, she was in a good mood that day, and loved the teacher, and was excited about the classroom. For her test she got to draw pictures and answer questions. She had - from start to finish - a totally different experience then Max did.

I am left to wonder if I am being defensive because he's my kid, or if this admissions procedure is just proof that this is not the right school for him. Either way, I didn't feel good about the interview. I feel like maybe they were just feeling us out, to see if we would send Lucy if they didn't offer Max a spot as well. Which of course, we won't.

But maybe I am being cynical. Maybe they were giving us the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were trying to learn more about Max, to see if the issue was his response to testing, or his grasp of basic math concepts and ability to write an essay. Because he definitely CAN. He just doesn't WANT to.

This is one of those times when I hate being the grownup.

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