Chances are, Christina will blog about this as well, so I'm not necessarily beating her to the punch as I am just providing my own perspective on this :).
Yesterday, Christina has a chance to go through the "conference" process at Parkside Intermediate School here in San Bruno. This is a bit different than anything I'd heard of before... only the kids that have serious issues get one on one conferences. Everyone else gathers together for what is effectively a "job faire" for parents, only instead of dropping off resumes, they go from table to table to talk with different teachers (quickly) about how their kids are doing.
While this is not an intense or detailed time for either the parents of the teachers, it is a way to get a good and clear snapshot of what your kid has been up to the past few months. The reports that we got back were overall terrific. For starters, he has a 3.5 GPA. That's pretty good; it's better than anything *I* ever did in Junior High, that's for certain. What was even more cool and interesting to hear was the general reflections of the teachers. Nick's music teacher gave him good comments on his fingering technique for the viola (which he just started playing in September) and for the fact that she has noticed he is "working ahead" of the class (really? cool to know!). She also said that he likes to "push the boundaries" a bit, but is gracious and polite when called on it. Otherwise, no problems at all and genuinely a great kid to work with.
What was wonderful to hear was the fact that every teacher had similar things to say. Nick's science teacher said he couldn't wait to see what ideas Nick would come up with for the science fair, as his imagination had already proven to be tremendous thus far (this comes after his rather unique approach to presenting a plant cell model to the class... he baked a cake and decorated it with all of the cell model components... edible, of course :) ).
Even teachers we thought would be tough on him (Nick was sure that his Algebra teacher had it in for him (LOL!)) was nothing but complementary... and also said not to take too seriously the less than stellar few assignments that had been turned in thus far, because on the whole, his work shows he's able to do quite well, as long as he keeps focused and commits to being consistent. A number of teachers pointed out that he is one who gets things quickly and can just listen in class and do well on the tests without any aditional work. They mentioned this not just as praise, but also as a warning... he needed to realize that things may not always be so easy, so getting into the habit of studying hard even when he doesn't really need to will help him down the road when his class work gets more difficult and he cannot rely on "osmosis" as easily (seeing as this was exactly the issues I had later on, *I* am certainly taking this advice to heart :) ).
The most interesting feedback, though was on his interactions with other people. We see him at home, and behind the doors and windows of the house, he is free to be a kid and, more to the point, our kid. Thus we see him at times when the "coolness" factor is non-existant (LOL!). However, at school, just about every teacher said that he was "articulate, well regarded, well mannered and good spirited" to borrow a few quotes. A couple of teachers added the flourish of describing him as "a real charmer"... which I know all too well (LOL!).
Nick is used to me coming down on him because I'm the Scoutmaster, and as such, I don't allow him to get away with any "favored treatment", so it may seem like I'm rougher on him than many of the other boys. To an extent, I may well be, but at the same time, I'm also one who wants to take the opportunity when it presents itself to encourage and congratulate him when he's done well and has distinguished himself in an area that I think matters. This is one of those times, and thanks for indulging me :).