We're 3/4 of the way through
the school year here in Australia and that means it's parent/teacher
interview time. Davey's school has introduced online booking times
this year, which meant I was able to book times with the teachers I
wanted to see rather than those Davey managed to find and book a time
His Maths, Science and Music teachers gave Davey, who accompanied me, the comments I expected. They weren't the comments Davey expected however. He is in the top 3 in these classes, yet Davey was genuinely shocked that the teachers spoke of his attentiveness, work ethic and grasp of the subject matter. He even teared up when I was talking to him later about his Maths teacher's comments. When I asked him why he was surprised at the comments, he said his teacher had never directly praised him before, so he'd assumed his teacher didn't have a high opinion of him. If his teacher had known Davey thought that, he would have been very shocked. As we took our seats in front of him at the beginning of the interview Mr R had commented that he didn't know why we were there as Seb was the perfect Maths student. Mr R didn't know how much Davey needed to hear that. Mr R didn't know that excelling in a subject doesn't mean the student feels competent - not when that student has the lack of self belief that Davey has anyway.
The interviews with Davey's English and Art teachers were also really good for Davey as they cleared up a couple of minor issues with both teachers and left Davey feeling newly positive about his abilities. Yet it was the praise from his Maths teacher, who thought Davey knew how highly he thought of him, that was most beneficial for Davey to hear.
It was a great reminder to me that my teenage son doesn't have to make any effort to avoid big noting himself to others because he doesn't think very highly of himself, that what seems obvious to me and his teachers is not at all obvious to Davey.
While I think it's great that Davey achieves well at school, I know that unless he feels he is worthwhile as a person and that his best IS good enough, no academic achievement in this world will help him feel that his life has meaning.