“This is the last time you will have to sign this,” announces my girl as we drive away from the pool. My mind races with thoughts of what should could be talking about. Before I even have a moment to glance over as I drive, she goes on. “This is the last time you will have to do a conference.” Pause. “At St. Anthony’s’.
This announcement has been in the works for a long time. She has been thinking about her future. Which makes every parent proud, of course. Even a year ago, she was starting to plan her high school focus. Talking to older students. Taking summer camp at one of the private schools that interested her. Making time to go to the private school open house night. Then deciding on public high school over the winter. Debating if she wanted to register for 8th grade at St. A’s. Deciding to register a mere 48 hours before the deadline. Talking the last few months about other students not returning. And seemingly happy to know that even though she registered, she could still change her mind.
Of course, I was curious to know why she decided today was the day to announce her decision. She had been sick over the weekend and missed yesterday, so did something not go right? And, in Bailie fashion, she clearly articulated her decision points:
- Education – she feels that her teachers have to adapt for too many levels of instruction. Providing the example of math where there are many levels of abilities, and she feels like she is at the top and not being pushed hard.
- Electives – Her friend at public school not only get to choose algebra instead of math, they get French (or Spanish) and other choices that she has never had.
- Teachers – Her favorite teacher, the one that inspires her (and it is obvious with Bailie’s science grade and the science facts that she brings up randomly as we drive to and fro the pool) only teaches in 7th grade.
- Finally, it’ the classmates. She says she knows it will not be perfect anywhere. But she feels in this small pool, it is more noticeable. The girls are very critical of each other. And they don’t treat each other like they want to be treated. Some of them are very rude, especially to boys that have crushes on them. (And this Mom was proud to hear her daughter stand up to one of the girls that was rude to a boy who liked her – especially since my girl is not fond of the boy).
Follow-up: Yesterday, before the student conference, I told her we could go talk to the school registrar about her decision. So we did. And she felt good about it. It also made her feel good how the office staff reacted. They were genuinely disappointed. And sad.