Anyway, back to the report card thing... I was excited this past Friday to find out the progress that D has been making in school. She was with her dad when the report card arrived, so I told him to text me a picture of the report card. Only one text arrived, and that is the picture above, saying that, while D is smart, learns quickly, and is a leader, she "as of late" has been restless, occasionally non-compliant, and showing inconsistent effort. I was devastated!
I could take this entry in so many different directions right now it makes my head spin, but here's what all of this boils down to: Some children, especially young ones, cannot articulate, express, and process through feelings the way adults do. Duh, right? However, we forget this easily, because, as counselors, we are so expressive and encourage our students to be the same way. After D's dad e-mailed back and forth with the teacher, she explained that the behaviors had come up in the week before Winter Break and were alarming, because that is not D's normal personality. HELLO?!?!?!? RED FLAG! Her teacher's response was to simply ask D, "What's going on?" D did not answer her in any concrete way that gave her insight, and the conversation was over. As counselors, this is where we need to step in and really do some digging. Knowing that a child might act out when they cannot express their thoughts and feelings, don't just ask random questions like, "What's going on?" Find out about relationships at school and at home, if there have been any changes (fighting, less sleep, etc.), anything to provide some sort of explanation...
As school counselors, part of our job is to see a student and have an idea of his or her personality, so when there are changes like D had been showing, we can support that child. We want our kids to be happy and able to function appropriately and successfully in school and life, and if we are not present in their lives, we can do very little to help. If the teacher or the counselor (totally MIA) had chosen to dig (or dig a little deeper), they would have found out that during that week, D's room had been packed up and was being moved to a new home, and someone she has cared about for a while was in the process of moving out of state. My heart aches that not only my child but potentially thousands of kids suffer and act out because they are not being asked the right questions.
I'm not even sure how to adequately close this entry out other than to say that we got in to this profession to make a difference in children's lives, so be present, ask quality questions, and rock it out! :-)