Julian's teacher conference is always the one I brace myself for the most, and this time was no exception. I really like his teacher, a young energetic non-nonsense woman with 16 years experience in 3rd grade at this school, and who who speaks crisply and with no hint of plaintiveness. I'd intercepted her at Back-to-School night last month, to tell her if she had any doubts about how to deal with Julian, not to doubt herself at all: come down hard and fast, and don't believe any of his excuses. She found that out on her own quickly!
All that said, she was also one of the first teachers who said, quite genuinely and with backup, that he's quite bright. She says he makes connections and asks questions that are well beyond 3rd-grade level. His reading and verbal articulation are well past his level -- which is a flag regarding his writing level. His writing is simplistic and reads more like that of a 2nd-grader.
She has more trouble than not getting to apply himself, but when he does, he's great. She showed us this example of a "happy face sentence," which means she'd solicit sentences from the class about a topic, and discuss their complexity levels and put them into categories called "down face," "even face" and "happy face." She showed us this set of sentences about the Native American Mulan, because Julian had come up with the happy-face sentence.
This only furthers my belief that Julian will basically outgrow his annoying attributes, and will shine in school when he deems it sufficiently interesting. I just hope that's in time for college admissions!