I start this post out with a large SIGH everyone.
I am trying to figure my way through the new expectations of third grade and my son isn’t helping very much! When I wasn’t working full-time, I was far more aware of the expectations and procedures and this year…well, I’m not.
As I was looking through my son’s folder, much like a detective searching for clues, I came across a school activity that interested me. This activity was entitled, “We Are All Kinds of Smart!” I could tell by the front cover that the point of the lesson was for the students to reflect about their own strengths and weaknesses. As a parent of a child that has many strengths that are often overshadowed, I was happy to see that the teacher felt this was a valuable use of her time.
Initially, I was shocked to see that my son had completed this entire packet. This time last year, the packet would have been halfway completed, crumpled and the rest might have had scribbled pages or decorated with thoughtfully executed Mine Craft sketches.
I opened up the packet and I was bombarded by feelings.
On each page, students gave themselves smiles for strengths, frowns for weaknesses or areas of little interest, and a question mark if they didn’t know. Since my boy is very black and white, I wasn’t surprised to see him avoid the middle ground of question marks. He is a “love it or hate it” type of kid and he has strong feelings on most subjects.
As I read his self assessment, I was impressed with the clarity and honesty at which he marked his responses. Yes, he was harder on himself than he should have been and I was able to point out examples that showed he had additional strengths and interests that he didn’t consider at the time.
When I turned to the “People Smart” page, I stopped.
Do you make friends easily? Frown.
Do you enjoy group activities? Frown.
Do you feel confident when meeting new people? Frown.
Each of the eight questions had frowns.
In reality, he is stronger in this area than he thinks that he is and he has added to his “friendship skills” tool belt each year, but clearly he understands that it is harder for him than most. It is. I wished that it wasn’t, but it is. As a teacher, I see that the extroverts have it easier in school, but I have to believe that at some point, those clever, thoughtful introverts come out alright.
As I was still worrying about the “People Smart” page, I turned to the “Self Smart” page. Out of eight questions, my son gave himself five smiles. This gave me a giant smile and a few tears.
Do you stand up for your beliefs even if they’re not popular? Smile. This is where his skill of debating must be paying off!
Do you know how you are feeling and why most of the time? Smile.
Do you spend time thinking deeply about what matters to you? Smile.
This page, the “Self Smart” page, was such a relief to see. I have to believe that this is a strength that will serve him well.
School is a hard place for this kid of mine. He just doesn’t always see the value. After reading this packet, it shed some light on his feelings that he hadn’t always shared with me.
After this lesson, I think that I am a bit smarter too 🙂