So yes, I met with Olivia’s teachers last Thursday. It was a nice enough meeting that lasted, oh, maybe fifteen minutes.
Her regular classroom teacher was there was well as the special ed. teacher. This is the first year Olivia has worked with Mrs. B, the new(?) special ed. teacher. Mrs. A moved up to the fourth through eighth grades, which means Olivia will get to work with her again next year. Olivia’s worked with Mrs. A since kindergarten, so next year ought to be nice for Liv.
But we have to get through this year first.
Since Mrs. B is new to Olivia, it’s…going. She’s trying to bond with Olivia and get her to connect even a little. Olivia is slow to warm to new people but I do think she’s trying this year. The older she gets, the more she understands the rules and the more she tries to obey them. But sometimes she thinks the rules are stupid and so, well, she doesn’t want to follow them. I get it.
Mrs. H, O’s regular classroom teacher started the conference by saying, “What can we say about Olivia? She’s a mystery.”
Yes. Yes she is a mystery. We all agree with that. Everyone who has ever met and tried to talk to Olivia can see that this girl is a mystery.
We all agreed that there is so much going on in Olivia’s head, that she really is so smart and the real mystery is trying to help her figure out how to get all the information, all those ideas, all those thoughts out of her head and into the conversation or onto the paper.
Olivia does not test well. She overthinks tests and often doesn’t know what’s really being asked of her. Mrs. H showed me a test Olivia had taken the day before the conference. There were multiple choice questions as well as a couple of ‘essay’ questions, which are basically asking for a sentence or two.
Olivia had the right answer on most of the multiple choice questions but then tried to erase them and put new answers.
Mrs. H said that she often sits next to O during these kinds of tests and will put her hand over an answered question, telling Liv to move on to the next question.
I like Mrs. H better this year than I did when she was O’s KinderKids teacher. I think the fact that Olivia is more mature and heck, let’s be honest, Mrs. H is also four years older, helps. I think Mrs. H is a bit aloof, like Olivia, which means they both tend to wait for the other to make the first move in this teacher/student relationship.
And yes, we all know that Olivia can outwait a sloth. She is perhaps the most stubborn person I’ve ever known, so there’s that.
But really, at the end of the conference, we were all agreeing that we’ll keep pushing Olivia, keep helping her where she needs it and keep expecting her to perform at her best.
Really, that’s all I can ask of her teachers, to care enough to push her, to understand enough to accept her, mystery and all and to be mature enough not to take her idiosyncrasies personally. I mean, she is the kid in this scenario so…we’re going to go ahead and let her keep on being a kid as much as possible.