Yesterday when I went to pick Eli up from school, the teachers met me and said “we need to talk.”
It seems Eli still has the Public School Work Ethic. That is, he is accustomed to getting by on his charm and large vocabulary. Which works in public school. But not, apparently, in a heavy-duty Presbyterian private one. They both said “oh he’s got the sweetest spirit. He’s kind and thoughtful and quite smart! But…he doesn’t get the work done. He must get the work done. He’s distracted sometimes, and misses the directions.” etc.
I was concerned that he’d have these issues. His public school teachers were so impressed with the depth and range of his knowledge they had a tendency to let him slide. Their attitude was “he knows the stuff, I’m not going to fool with homework because there’s 25 other kids who’s work I have to look at” so he was never made to do it. Oh sure, I’d have him do the assigned homework but half the time it wouldn’t make it into the classroom and the teachers, they weren’t concerned.
However now, the teachers? They are concerned. He may have been in the top of his class before, but now he’s right smack in the average middle. He’s competing with very high achievers now. Tho I try not to look at it as a competition, and he’s not exactly competitive, but still. It’s a different environment now, and he’s got to step up his game.
So, in the interest of stepping up, last night he Worked. I made sure his stuff got in his notebook. He worked on homework for 2 solid hours. We talked about it, how he could use the free time at school to do some of it, that way he’d have more down time at home. We talked about it some more this morning, about paying attention, listening closely, writing things down..whatever it took for him to get the information he needed to do the work properly.
He likes it there. As CJ said, “the boys are all goobers. He fits right in” He likes being in a place where he’s not picked on for being slightly goofy, where he can wear the clothes he likes without being called a dork, and sit at the picnic table during recess and read, without someone stealing his book or thumping his ears.
I told him if he wants to stay there he has to step up and perform. They can invite him to leave if he doesn’t, even if we are members of the church. He was kind of shocked by that. I hope he’ll think about it and do what he must.