Thursday, September 17, 2015

Starting Kindergarten

Long time readers will remember what a terrible time I had with the Montessori --> public school transition.  It could have been moving from the Philippines to the USA.  It could have been many things.  But, as I was rationalizing my frustration with starting school here, I rationalized that it was because of my difficulty adjusting between two very different instructional methods.

The Montessori school Wm attended in the Philippines had a wonderful parent education component.  We knew exactly what the school was teaching and why, and were encouraged to reflect the same methodology at home.  It made things work so smoothly.  Wm could move ahead quickly and independently in areas where he excelled, and the teachers were there to support him in weaker areas (reading, ahem ahem).

The more rigid system here combined with feel like I didn't even speak the same language as his teacher, frustrated me beyond belief.  Hi first grade year, I felt like I was struggling to catch up and understand how to work with him and the school.  Thus, for Patch, while we could have sent him to a Montessori school up the road, I opted for a more traditional play-based American pre-K curriculum. I'm sure Patch would have excelled just as Wm did in Montessori - but I couldn't go through that transition again.

Luckily for me and Patch, try #2 paid off.  He reports that kindergarten so far is boring.  He doesn't read yet, so there are definitely things he needs to work on this year.  Overall, though, the rhythm of the class is very similar to what he was doing half-day last year.  As for me?  I'm not stressing out about his transition at all.  Piece of cake.

I know - you'll tell me a lot of it is that we're now in our third year in America, and I can now speak the same language as his school.  But, given that I believe the difficult transition into first grade was because of the Montessori-public switch, it only logically follows that this easy transition was because we stuck with similar systems.

Now, fingers crossed I don't flip out when we move to Vietnam and enter the international school world... 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Being an Extreme "NT"

Three weeks ago, I took a leadership class.  As part of it, we did the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.  I've done this a few times before, and am still the same type: INTJ.  The only difference is that this time, all of the types were more pronounced, especially the T (thinking) and N (intuition).  Basically, my take away from the class is that when I manage people (in theory, I should do that at some point in my career, since I do hope to get promoted :) ), I need to make sure that I don't come across so matter of fact that I'm unfeeling.

This also, apparently, applies to parenting.

Case in point:  At back to school night, the parents were encouraged to write a "doodle note" to their child.  I had NO IDEA what to write.  So, I wrote: "Hi William, Um... we were here - ha ha ha.  I guess you're not next to Raul anymore.  ~Mama."  And I drew a soccer ball and baseball.

Later, walking around the class, I glanced at the other mom's notes.  (yes, even with two parents in the class, only the moms seemed to write the note.  I think this is because the paper had hearts all over it with "doodle note" written in a very feminine script.  I won't start to go into how much Comic Sans and "cutesy" fonts are used in elementary school, which absolutely drives me up a wall.)  Every other note was something like "you're a super star!" "i'm so proud of you!" etc etc.

Obviously, my NT was shining strong.  Not one iota of F (feeling) in my note.  I felt slightly bad for Wm, but, hey, he gets to deal with the mom he has, right?  Better learn young :)

I forgot about it, until the note came home from school today.  I took it out from the folder and was again embarrassed to the point of needing to bring it up.

Me: Um, William, I think I have to apologize for that doodle note.
Wm: What?
Me: Well, did you read the notes your friends got?
Wm: Yeah.
Me: So, what did you think of mine?
Wm: It was the worst in the whole class. [love his brutal honesty! especially when true!]
Me: Yeah, so that's what I'm apologizing for. I love you, you know, right?
Wm: Yeah, I know. I don't need a doodle note for that.

*phew. No lasting damage, at least from this parenting misstep.  And I'll work on putting a little more S and F (sensing & feeling) into my parental feedback mechanisms, too.