Teacher conferences: Proud and Pissed Off

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We had conferences tonight and they went amazingly well. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything to deal with though.

I’ll begin with Emmett because he’s going to be the easiest. We met with all of Emmett’s teachers and not one of them could even think of a single thing that Emmett could possibly improve upon. It was twenty minutes of literally hearing nothing but them praising everything about him.

Emmett helps other students with their work and essentially tutors them when they need extra help.

His teachers kept saying they wish they could have 18 clones of him. ☺

What was really cool is that they told him how amazing he is and do so all the time. Emmett is so proud of himself and he loves school like crazy. Lizze and I are both super proud.

Elliott’s teachers had tons of nice things to say about him as well. There are a few things we need to work on, some of them are realistic and others are just the way he’s wired. Elliott’s attention can sometimes drift off but that’s an ADHD thing and frankly, the fact it’s only sometimes is pretty awesome in my book.

It’s also clear that there are some issues with perception on Elliott’s part but that’s not a big surprise.

One of the biggest concerns is math and to be completely honest, it’s total bullshit and I told the teachers that, although in a more tactful way.

Elliott is very good at math but the nightmare that is common core is snuffing all that out. Last year, Elliott was forced to forget everything he’d learned about math up to that point and learn the common core way. That sucked but we made it through. This year, they are forcing him to forget what he learned last year and learn a completely new way of doing the same thing. It’s fucking ridiculous and it pisses me off to no end.

At the same time, it’s not the teachers fault because they are being forced to teach this way and they hate it as much as we do.

The government needs to get its shit together and put an end to this sadistic way of forcing our kids to learn.

Outside of that, Elliott’s doing awesome. ☺

I can’t say enough about how proud of them we are. These guys are working so hard and it shows. The teachers are awesome and we are all on the same page.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Is there a way to get Elliott a tutor or have him stay after school to get some individualized help? He has missed a lot of school this year and if they are implementing a new type of math, I would be surprised if he was understanding it at all. At that age missing so much time can be hard to come back from. This is the age where they are learning a lot of new things on a daily basis and the teachers aren’t going to be able to hold back an entire class because one or two kids aren’t getting it.

Also, you mention ‘forcing kids to learn a certain way’, but that is true of anything that is being learned. We were forced to learn math the way that we learned it because that’s how it used to be taught. I remember my parents not understanding the ‘new’ math and it seems like that’s exactly where you are now. Once you figure common core out it makes a lot of sense and is teaching kids how to apply the principals and logic of it to other areas of life. It’s like algebra- makes no sense when you’re learning it but I would guarantee that many people use it every day without even realizing it. Math used to be based on memorization. We were forced to memorize addition and subtraction and many times tables. Now they are teaching new tools on how to do those things, and that is why the answers don’t matter at this stage. It’s about the process.


do understand the struggle with common core, but the idea of teaching the process isn’t bad…at all. From my experience, parents are having a much bigger issue with it than the kids too.

As far as him having to relearn everything? He is too young to have gotten that far down the math rabbit hole. Its fine, just support the process and be amazed at how quickly they can pick it up.


It seems to be a bit of an issue if your son is now having issues in math. Since it’s all building blocks, missing a month could definitely set him back a bit. Sounds like you figured out extra help for him now, so hopefully he catches up soon.

Jimmy Rock

Glad that conferences went well. You dedicated two previous posts to Elliott’s complaints of not receiving help from the teacher despite his requests, but you only alluded to some perception issues on his part. So what did your conference reveal about that?

Getting the whole story seems like a good opportunity for you to discuss with Elliott the importance of effective communication, both with his parents and his teachers, so that he can get the help he needs.

Rob Gorski

Okay. So it basically came down to a he said she said. Elliott insists he asks for help but they won’t help him.. I don’t immediately dismiss that cause I’ve had some truly terrible teachers in my time and back then, the teachers were always right. I won’t do that to my kids.

At the same time, they seemed genuinely off put by learning that Elliott needed help.

What likely happened is that Elliott probably asked for help in his own unique and obviously ineffective way. They responded to him based on how he presented his request and Elliott perceived them as refusing to help.

You’re right about communication being important. The problem is that it’s a perception issue and that’s not something easily addressed. We’ve been working on that for years but he’s hardwired this way and it’s not easy to change.

On the positive side, everyone now knows he needs help and will give that help to him on Monday morning.. ☺


Were you able to address the attendance policy with the teachers? Do they have any plans to protest for an exemption for that type of school?

Rob Gorski

Attendance isn’t an issue at this point. Everything has a excuse and they are focusing on making sure absences are documented.

I thought I heard something about lobbying in Columbus but I haven’t heard anything specific.. It’d be nice to have a PTA so we could organize something and focus our energies together.


Learning different ways to think is learning. We might not get it, but the kids are young enough where it shouldn’t matter.

Plus whatever we think about it, it’s in place now and how they have to learn it.

It’s also been in place for a good number of years at this point. It’s not like the kids are being forced to relearn how to do anything (not at that age). They are constantly learning new items and the common core techniques are building blocks as they advance in each grade.

If we don’t embrace the change, the kids never will either.

Rob Gorski

Common Core is different for each State. Ohio implements a very customized version of it and it’s only been in play for a couple of years..

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced common core math first hand but it’s a convaluted mess. It makes no logical sense and a quick Google search will show how little support it has. Most people hate it and for good reason.

It’s hard enough for neurotypical kids to be forced to learn a certain way but they have some plasticity. Kids with Autism, especially like Elliott and Emmett are often brilliant but are absolutely hardwired to learn a certain way. Trying to force them to do things differently, especially if it’s as ridiculous as common core math, does far more harm than good.

Here’s a link that was interesting. I’ve seen stuff like this quite a few times. Again, Common Core only impacted our school within the last couple of years, so Elliott is having to relearn. For that matter, he has to relearn again this year, from the way he was taught last year. The teachers even told us that the state testing isn’t even looking for the right answer. They want to see that you know the process. Correct answers no longer matter..