Thursday, February 09, 2006

Be careful what you wish for

At the beginning of this school year, when every one of my daughter's teachers expressed a goal of bringing this sweet, quiet, sometimes timid girl out of her shell and getting her to talk and interact more, I told them sure, fine, good luck with that. But quietly, to myself, I said: Be careful what you wish for. Because, while the goal of making a language-challenged kid more social and outgoing is laudable, doing it in 8th grade when peer behavior is at its worst is a big gamble. And sure enough: The experiment has been so successful that she's had two detentions in the last three weeks. The first was a detention for the entire class, but the second was due to going to the bathroom to talk instead of tinkle, and being late for class as a result.

I'm not making a big deal about these detentions -- they're the milder after-school variety, not the serious Saturday ones. But when I see her English teacher at her IEP meeting next week, I'm going to mention that, hello, if a quiet kid wants to be more talkative, she's going to gravitate to the kids who talk all the time and get in trouble for it. Some of the conversations she's reported having, and some of the shiny new words she's picked up, make me think that perhaps sociability isn't the best goal at this point in time. Now that we've brought her out of her shell, can we stuff her back in a little, please?

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