Tag Archives: Education

How Do You Answer These Questions

I had yet another downer of an ending post drafted before I deleted it all. Instead I put to you these questions I had last night from Doodicus:

"I hate school. Why do I have to go?"

"What difference does it make if I get Fs and Ds instead of As and Bs?"

Please, don’t respond with "So you can go to a good college and get a great job!" because if we’re already struggling beyond words to get him through the fifth grade, you can bet the farm he has absolutely no desire at this point and time to look forward to another four years of higher education if we’re even able to get through these next seven. "A great college…" is no incentive here.

Also? The flute lessons are absolutely off the table, but you may have already figured that out.

Contrary

The transition from a private Catholic school system to a public school has neither been as bad as I had imagined or as good. I would be delusional to think that this would have gone picture perfect, but I would be a pessimist if I thought it was going to be rough.

The week before school started, I sent an email to his homeroom teacher introducing Doodicus. It wasn’t a formal 504 Plan with a list of accomadations, but it wasn’t a hey! my kid is perfect! you shouldn’t have any problems! kind of letter, either.

I recently decided that instead of him keeping a devoted notebook for each and every subject, which was not only the teacher’s preference but Sparring Partner’s as well (and one we tried first), he is to keep all of his subjects’ notes on divided ruled paper in what we refer to as The Case. I bought a set of 8 dividers that have pockets on both sides (Avery brand and they are AWESOME), which I labeled in order of his class schedule, and then put in several sheets of ruled paper with the reinformed sides for note-taking.

While the down-side to this system will be that when the teachers want the kids to turn in their notes, he will have to open the D-rings and hand over the loose papers instead of a notebook, AND that if he loses the binder he loses everything (which nearly makes me nauseous just thinkintg about it), the disadvantages to the other system (one notebook to each subject) are not as easy for me to accept. He was bringing home the wrong note-book to use to study tests or not bringing them home at all, or if he did bring them home the night before a test, he had nothing written in them and by then it was too late. The other issue I discovered is that while each notebook was labeled with the subject, all of them that I brought home after my meeting with his teachers last night had notes in them from at least two different subjects. His notes consisted of a few words at the top of the page and the rest a series of doodles. Then a couple blank pages, more doodles, then a page with a definition or two written on them and usually from a different class. There’s no way they would ever be effective for studying. Sorry, but I tried it their way, it’s time to try mine.

After the meeting with his teachers yesterday, which I initiated, I cleaned out Dood’s desk. Chaotic doesn’t even begin to describe what I encountered. Aside from the mess, we found three pieces of homework that were due today so I brought them home. When I showed Dood, he went into a full-on meltdown, yelling how he never gets any free time. He can’t seem to understand that if he gave himself less "free-time" at school (not using the study hall periods or the after school access to the study center effectively) then he would have more time at home to do what he wants.

Last night was also suppose to be the parent’s meeting with the music store to talk about the band, orchestra and rentals, which Dood really wanted to go to as he is interested in learning to play the flute. The meeting was at 6:00 and it was nearly that time, an hour after we arrived home, that he had finally stopped yelling at me and got to work. There was no way I was going to be able to take him to the meeting, have supper, and still get homework done by bedtime. I never said a word about the meeting until after he was done for the night (not done with homework, mind you, but it was bedtime), at which time we had to break the news that we just couldn’t add band to our schedule.

He of course broke down into a fresh wave of tears, this time in grief instead of rage, and I felt like an absolute shit for taking that away from him. We could only promise him that we would consider the option next year, but that just made me feel worse to know that he would have to wait a whole year to try something he wanted to do now. I tried to make him understand that it wasn’t a punishment, but that we just don’t want to have these fights every night over what needs to be done first before he can just chill out with a video game, or watch TV, or play with his sister. Getting him to practice an instrument was just another battle I personally do not feel up to taking when I am so battered from the ones now. That’s probably why I still so badly want to say yes, because the reason I’m saying no feels entirely selfish.

Teacher FAIL

Taking pictures of kids for several hours of day is incredibly monotonous. Don’t EVEN ask me how many times I said the following today:

  • Sit up straight!
  • Feet flat on the floor!
  • Hands flat on your lap!
  • Shoulder’s down!
  • Chin down!
  • Chin up!
  • Tip your head *this* way!
  • Smile!
  • Smile!
  • SMILEGODDAMMIT!!!!

ahem

Oh, by the way, I said at least something from that list 219 times today, however most of the time it was in some kind of combination of at least three if not all…and repeated twice.

At one of the schools they had a class that was made up of two kids that were autistic. There was a teacher and a para who escorted them to the cameras. One young man, about 12 was sat down in front of me. I asked him his name and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to understand him. The teacher piped up, “Ben Riesling” (obviously not his real name, but you’ll see why I used it here in just a bit). His name didn’t come up in the system.

ME: Riesling? As in R-I-E?”

TEACHER: “No. R-E-I”

Hmmmm. That’s not the way riesling is spelled…I type it in again and search. Nothing. So I type in just the R-E. Still nothing. So I try the first name. Several Bens come up, but not Ben Riesling.

ME: “R-E-I isn’t coming up with his name…”

TEACHER: “Oh, I don’t know! It could be R-I-E-S. Ben, how do you spell your name?” Ben’s blank stare is the only answer. The para just shrugs and says, “I don’t know. I’m just the para.”

ME: “I’ll have to add him manually, but I’ll definitely need to have the correct spelling of his name.”

TEACHER: *exasperated sigh* “I think it’s R-I-E-S-E -L-I-N-G”

ME: “Ooooohkayyyyy…Are you sure there that extra E in the middle?”

TEACHER: “I don’t know!”

ME: “Alright. Is it Ben or Benjamin?”

TEACHER: “Just put it in as Benjamin!”

Take a moment here and imagine this scene.

If YOU were the parent of the child and his ID card and his yearbook had his name spelled wrong, wouldn’t you be pissed? Ben is not Benjamin or vice versa. She showed absolutely no interest in the TWO students she had (and don’t try to defend this with “oh, school JUST started. she’s getting to know the kids yet” because school here has been in session for almost a month now). To me it was inexcusable and pathetic.

We’ll be meeting with that school’s psychologist again this fall. I’ll be sure to mention this to him then. Maybe by then I will have cooled down a bit.