Honesty is the Best Policy…usually

This past Tuesday was the Student-Led Conferences at St. Paul’s…basically a chance for the students to show their parents samples of their work in the classroom setting.

Knowing I had to get downtown for work as soon as I could, we signed up for the first two slots. And Gail had to be there even earlier to prepare for all of her grade 2 students and their parents. So there we were, at the school by 8am. After dropping Jake off in the school library, Sean and I sat down at his desk. I looked around to see 3 other students, each one with both of their parents.

“Hey, why am I the only one here without my spouse?” I asked quite loudly, just loud enough so the other parents could hear…most of them started chuckling. My lovely wife, on the other hand, just rolled her eyes (as is custom with me) and continued to prepare for the rest of her students.

Then, I saw Sean’s self-assessment, where he ranked himself using a 3-point scale in a multitude of different categories. He had to answer statements like “I listen to instructions” and “I work hard” with the choices of “Almost Always” or “AA”, “Usually” or “U”, and “I Can Do Better” or “IC.”

Most of his responses weren’t surprises to me. He gave himself “Almost Always” for the majority of the categories, and he sprinkled in a few “Usually.” Then I noticed that a few “AA”s were erased and replaced with “IC”s. Sean answered “IC” for “I listen to others” and “I am neat with my work.”

I was surprised, but certainly not shocked. Noticing the erase-marks, I asked Sean, “Why did you change these from AA to IC?”

“Mommy said I needed a couple of ICs” was Sean’s answer. I almost fell off my chair laughing. He sounds about as humble as his dad!

Gail was able to find someone to cover her classroom for half an hour so the 2 of us could go to Jake’s kindergarten class. Jake was really cute and super-excited, literally jumping for joy as we went through his work with him. We noted marked improvement in his printing, drawing and creativity. Except for his journaling: he had “I played hockey with Sean and Dad” listed for the last 3 weeks.

Then, it came time for Jake’s self-assessment. It too was a 3-point scale, but instead with the simpler happy face, neutral face, or sad face to best indicate how he feels about certain things.

We saw mostly happy faces, especially around the areas of PE and Math and a few neutral faces for things like French and journaling (haha). It was the one sad face that caught our attention though. There it was for all the world to see: a big fat sad face beside “Prayer and Bible Stories.”

“Uh, Jake” I sheepishly asked, “Why did you put a sad face for this one?”

“Because it takes too long. And it’s boring.”

Gail and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We later found out that he was the ONLY kid in both kindergarten classes to put a sad face down for “Prayer and Bible Reading.”

Just what you want to see from the son of a teacher and youth minister! At least he was honest!


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