The school called me the other day to talk about my youngest daughter who is in Kindergarten. The reason for the call was unclear and bordered on disturbing.
"We're calling to talk about M," the woman said.
"Okay. Is there a problem?" I asked.
"Well, not really. She's doing well academically and making great progress. She's also doing well socially and is a real joy to have in class."
"That's good to hear. So...what would you like to talk about?"
"We want to do some testing on her." I got a flash in my head of teachers in white coats, placing my child in a maze like a lab rat.
"You see, when her teacher gives her instructions she will sometimes hesitate before taking action," said the woman. "
"Does she follow the directions?"
"Is she having a behavioral problem?"
"So, what you're telling me is that my daughter listens, thinks before she acts and then follows directions."
"And that's a problem becauuuuuse....?"
"Well, it's not really a problem."
"So then why do you want to test her?"
"I just told you. Because she's stopping too long to think before she acts. And in Kindergarten (as you know) we have so much to teach. We've got to keep these kids moving. And we want to make sure that letting her take time to think is the right course of action. We need to make sure she's understanding what she's being told."
"Does she seem confused?"
"Is she disrupting the class by taking too much time to think?"
"Not exactly. She's polite and does what she's told. But she's just slower than we'd like her to be."
"Right. Let me talk to my husband about this."
I hung up the phone; totally confused. I'm sure there's got to be a reason for this call although that reason was not exactly clear. It's obvious that she's slowing them down. But since (so they say) it's not affecting her academically, socially and behaviorally and furthermore she's not causing classroom disruptions, I don't see the issue here.
M is very good at avoidance. She'll pretend to not know how to do things when she doesn't feel like doing something. She's an expert at pretending to be needy and does a very good job at getting her brother to get her drinks and snacks and manipulating her sister into cleaning her room. What can I say, she can be a brat sometimes. And if that's what she's doing than it's unacceptable and she needs to be held accountable. But testing?
Surely they wouldn't want to test her to see how they can get her to move faster. Or would they? I can't imagine what kind of testing they would do. Are they going to poke her with a cattle prod to see if that puts a jump in her step?
We've always been very open to any help the school can offer, even if we don't always agree with it. Only because we know that we aren't experts and we trust our teachers and school professionals to have our children's best interest at heart.
With very few exceptions, those interests have never come into question but this? This needs further investigation. Her teacher (a wonderful woman who has had all three of our kids in her classroom and has always been very good at communication) has never communicated any concern to me. Just two weeks ago I asked her how things were going and she smiled and said, "she's doing great. She's such a little star."
I feel uneasy. If I were dealing with a doctor, this is when I'd be asking for a second opinion.