I is for incredulous
I hesitated a bit at the door when dropping Julia off at her first day of camp this morning. This was a new set of teachers for her, and she'll have them not only this summer but throughout the next school year as well. Should I say something? Would that be too pushy? Would waiting make more sense or would patterns already have developed by then which would be difficult to change? I knew that I felt just as unsure as my child at that moment. Finally, I bit the bullet and spoke up.
"I expect Julia won't say much to you today," I began hesitantly. Miss M looked up in surprise. "Is she shy?" she asked in surprise. "I've seen her on the playground this past year and she certainly seems comfortable talking with her friends."
"She is," I replied, "but it's a very different story with adults." Briefly, I explained; the year of silence in the 2s, the gradual social blossoming in the 3s, the continued unwillingness to speak in a group setting. "She's made great progress," I told her new teacher, "but talking is still a struggle for her. For the past two years, her teachers have nurtured her and let her be who she is, and she's loved them for it, but this year I'm hoping that you'll push her out of her comfort zone a bit and help her get to the next stage." There. I'd said it. I'd told this woman how to do her job. How would she respond?
Miss M smiled at me. "My job is to get her to kindergarten next year able to speak up for herself," she told me. "I'll definitely push her a bit." I smiled back in relief. "That's absolutely it," I gushed. "Here's a kid who's been reading for a year now, and I'm so afraid that if she can't tell her teacher what she knows, she'll spend a whole year doing 'b goes buh' again so as not to make a fuss..." Realizing that I was getting ahead of myself, I stopped short, but Miss M was still smiling. "I've seen plenty of kids like this before," she told me. "Mark my words, by the end of the year, she'll be reading books aloud to the class in circle time." I laughed. "Don't hold your breath," I cautioned her, "but I'm very grateful that you'll try." She thanked me quite genuinely for the heads up and we said goodbye.
Three and a half hours later, a beaming Miss M met me at the classroom door. "Julia read the note that you wrote on her napkin to the whole class at lunch time," she told me, "and we've had some lovely chats today." I stared at her, stunned. "See you tomorrow, Julia," she said breezily, smiling at both of us as I tried to scrape my jaw off the floor.
I think that Julia may just have met the person who will change the path of her life.