Yesterday afternoon I attended Avery's parent teacher conference. We first discussed where she is academically. She can identify sounds of letters, knows several sight words, writes her name correctly, can sort objects in a variety of ways, can complete patterns, can write numbers and can make comparisons. She's doing everything a kindergartner should be able to do and is doing it very well.
Next, we discussed her citizenship. Students are given a number to rank where they stand in several areas. They mainly involve good manners. The scale is 1-5, with 1 meaning they "need support", 3 meaning "developing", and 5 meaning they are "achieving". A 2 or a 4 means they're somewhere in between, depending on what end of the scale they're on.
Her teacher began the citizenship portion of our discussion by saying, "Hmmm.....well, let's see. How should I say this?.....Avery is really very good at....ignoring. You can call her name over and over when we are on the playground and it's time to come in from recess. But she can completely ignore you and will only come if she wants to come. She's very passive aggressive. I see it in many other areas as well. The other kindergarten teacher has even noticed it. So, I know it's not just me." Consequently, she gave her a "2" for "follows directions and procedures". She said she will eventually do things, but with a lot of prodding. She wrote in the comment section "Avery loves to do things her way." She then said, I'm sure to try and make me feel better, "She is making progress in learning to be a good listener."
Well, that wasn't a terribly wonderful thing to hear. No parent wants to be told that their child is kind of one of the pills of the class. I tried to see the positive after that by noting she received a "5" in "uses materials correctly". At least I know that she's coloring with her crayons and not sticking them up her nose.
Sadly, I had to tell her teacher, and admit to myself, I wasn't the least bit surprised to hear this. I experience Avery's desire to do things her way on a daily basis. I apologized for her behavior and suggested that the goal we set for her for the new term should be improving following directions and procedures. She agreed. She then asked Avery to look directly at her while she told her what we thought her goal should be. She said, "Avery, look at me, do you think, look at me, you can listen and, stay looking at me, and follow directions, Avery you're not looking at me, (she finally stayed focused because I jabbed her in the ribs) and do this as soon as you hear them. If I say sit in your chair, what do you do?" Avery said "Sit". "If I say it's time to color, what do you do?" Avery said "color". And so on and so forth. Her teacher wrote down the goal with a sigh and a slightly weary look on her face. I know she could sense the difficult journey ahead. So, I committed that I would diligently work on the goal with Avery at home. Even if it kills me. It just might.
I really have no idea where she would have learned behavior like this. Her dad isn't really like this. Although, now that I think about it, he really kind of is. I know I'm certainly not. I'm always so flexible and accommodating. I never insist on doing and having things my way and I am most certainly never passive aggressive. That's my passive aggressive way of trying to elicit comments telling me I am absolutely not passive aggressive and that Avery most likely does get this from Ryan.