I have been mentioning that we will be conducting parent teacher conferences soon. Many of my children are the oldest child or only child in their family, making this, the first conference of first grade, an anxious time for the many parents. What is causing most of the anxiety is the worry about grades. Our school grades first graders using the following scale.
O = Outstanding = 90 – 100 %
G = Good = 80 – 89 %
S = Satisfactory = 70 – 79%
N= Needs Improvement = Below 70%
I can tell you that parents do not want any N’s or S’s on their child’s report card. Why not parents? This is valuable information. It will help you to understand not only your child’s strengths in school but his/her weak areas that need work as well. I feel badly for these young children. I would not want to be in a new job (for the children their job is first grade) and after 7 short weeks be in an evaluation cycle by a new supervisor. We don’t stress out adults by assessing their work when they are new on the job, but we do it to children! Hmmm, something is wrong here. Your children have worked hard to adjust to a new grade, new teacher, new friends, new curriculum, new schedule, for some a new school, etc. and it is OK if they receive some N’s or S’s on their report card. I will be the first to tell you that this report card from first grade does not go with your child to Middle School, High School, and it definitely won’t be asked for in your child’s college application. You think I am joking. I am not. Parents worry about these grades and all I want to say is don’t worry. Just take the grades for what they are…information about this moment in your child’s life and how he/she is doing at school. If you are not happy about your child’s grades, discuss with the teacher how you, the parent, can help the teacher and how you will work together to make your child stronger in his/her weak skill areas. Sometimes it is just developmental and the grades will change as your child becomes more mature and understands more of the academic and social world around him/her.