Today I had my youngest’s 4th grade review.

I was really looking forward to it. Something special is happening with her this year, and I think it has to do with her teacher.

You always hear stories of kids who were floundering in school – until they met that one teacher that showed them the light. That showed them that school can be fun, and rewarding, and interesting. My oldest sister had one of those teachers. My A+, honor society, popular older sister had issues early in her scholastic career, and some caring teacher guided her towards the path of academic nirvana.

I never had that problem. I always saw school as a way to show that I can kick ass. I always strived to get good grades and make my parents proud. I don’t think I ever got straight A’s…History was always a speed bump for me, but don’t recall getting many C’s in my scholastic career.

When I hit college, this need to excel went into overdrive. I would see kids spend entire semesters drinking beer and playing Risk, and be thrown out of school by the end of the year, and I couldn’t get that. I mean your folks are paying good, hard earned money to send you here and you repay them by playing Risk drunk on Piels beer?

Since kindergarten I have been told that my youngest is behind and has “issues.” Not one to buy into the ADD craze, I hoped that a good dose of public education would whip her rear in gear. I can’t afford private school or tutors. And, I am the type of teacher who, after 10 minutes of careful and nurturing explanation, wants to grab my kid by the hair when she says “I don’t get it.” I therefore must rely on her teachers to, um, teach her.

Easier said than done. She has consistently tanked in every grade. We had to work very hard with her just to keep her at average, which is frustrating because she is such an above average kid. But I have to say, these earlier teachers were just so lacking in enthusiasm or drive. I can’t tell you how many notes went unanswered. “When are portrait make up days?” “When are portrait make up days?” “When are portrait make up days?”

“Oh, sorry, they were last week.”

Or, a test is scheduled for Tuesday, we panic, study, panic, and study some more. Tuesday comes and goes. Off the school bus,  and first question “how was your test?”

My answer? “Oh, Miss Dbag was out today. I have no clue when we take the test.” This scenario happened waaaay more than once. Sorry, but that is fucked up.

But today my daughter made the 4th grade honor roll. She finished the first marking period with 3 A’s and 2 B’s and I am thrilled. It’s  her first time making honor roll. She always had a C in her grades somewhere, and sometimes a grade lower than that. Funny part is the teachers never let me know she was doing so poorly. No note was sent home or phone call was made to try and help my child do better.

Her current teacher claims that she is the best kid he has in the class. Perhaps not academically, but she tries hard and she takes school very, very seriously. I think he digs that over kids who bang out A’s but could care less about the classroom. And my husband and I can see a difference in her this year. She is enthusiastic about school and homework. She gets her work done with little to no help.

I hope this means she has turned the corner. I hope that this teacher she has this year was given as a helping hand to us.

Honor roll. Her name in the paper. I want her to feel that sense of pride and hope that it drives her to work hard.