Today was the last day of school for my girls. I want to tell you how it developed and ended for Mina.
Back in February, I was told that Mina most likely would not pass 2nd grade. It was a complete shock to hear at the the time. I knew with every cell in my body that Mina was smart and I believed she was misunderstood and labeled as sweet and creative but not so bright and unable to do certain levels of work. I also realized that Mina's focus towards school was whack.
I've been putting in overtime on 2nd grade stuff ever since. I kicked up a dust storm at her school about perceptions projected, then I got her into tutoring, then I got her moved from the back of the class to the front (hello?), then I worked on Mina's focus and study habits. I'm tired, yo, but every single area on Mina's report card went up at least one or two notches. Her test results jumped dramatically. Her teacher is thrilled and has thanked me for helping her and helping Mina.
And look, Mina got one of these:
Completion of 2nd grade. She did it. She worked hard. Here's how she feels:
At the end of this year, the teacher gave a 100-word spelling test. The kids took a practice test two weeks prior to the real test to see how well they could do without preparing. Mina misspelled 43 words during the practice run. Every night after that she and I studied the words. We got index cards, which she dug, and she took the entire 100 word test a few times. She'd miss 17, then 12. When she took the test a couple days ago she said she felt pretty good about it, but she seemed less anxious than I to know the results. Yesterday, her class had a party/award ceremony where high-achievers and excellent students were acknowledged. The teacher recognized every child that scored 90 or better on the 100-word test. I waited for Mina's name to be called. I believed in my heart she had done well. After a few minutes, only five children had been called and the teacher was now rolling past the score of 95. Two more kids were called for earning 96. Another at 97. At 98, Mina's named was called. She had missed only two words, and only 3 kids -- the top students in the class -- scored higher. A 98! I never, not once, doubted her ability to do this.
I don't regret going through this year the way we did. I learned lessons. Mina learned lessons. It's easy to rally around the saying Trust Your Gut. It was quite another to take determined action especially when I felt so lost and confused by what an authoritative figure was trying to tell me. I had never had a conflict with a teacher before. I trust them highly. And yet I felt so convicted about Mina. It was scary to push through towards conviction against what may have seemed evident on the surface. I mean, it wasn't me on the line, was it? It was Mina relying on me to do right by her. Mina also was forced to learn that though school is fun, you gotta put your back into it, man. Just like anything.
I loved the group of children that were in her class. All of them. They were a special and funny bunch. Here's Sweet D on the left and my favorite little man, King, on the right. He has a fantastic birth name of Tibetan decent, but he told me his nickname is King so I'll call him that here on the internet. We had a couple play dates with him and he's a 30 year old trapped in that handsome little vehicle. He once asked Husband, "What should I call you?" And Husband said, "I don't know. Papi? Mr. Rivera?" King said, "I'll call you Mr. Rivera then. Mrs. Rivera?" I said, "You can call me by my name." And he said with his hand on his heart, "Or maybe I'll just call you my angel." Man, we laughed for a week about that.
Here's King's mom who was a second grade teacher in India before King was born. She gave me pointers and told me that she believed Mina to be very bright too.
More great kids; the tie-dyed Z Brothers in the middle, Top Student M on the left, Crazy F on the right
Mina and her best friend, Leo.
Farewell 2nd Grade. I will not be returning. It was a trying year, one where I learned more about myself as a parent and more about Mina. You will be remembered but not dwelled on. 3rd Grade or Bust!
I love you, Mina.
17 hours ago