Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Our future or how to destroy the love of learning.

I'll admit, I'm biased. I think my 10 year old son is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest soul. Just like his older brother. But it is true. My sons are quiet, thoughtful people who connect better with animals than they do with many humans.

This blog is about my 10 year old. In addition to being sweet and very sensitive, my boy is a tad disorganized. Just like me. Unlike me, he doesn't care to read or write. Over the years, he has definitely struggled with this but has usually been happy to do whatever needs to be done to overcome his weakness in writing. He has been blessed with wonderful teachers: one in particular who somehow realized that if my son was able to read as if in a play, he was able to breeze through any kind of written material.

No matter what, he has always, always, always loved school, his teachers, and most of his classmates.

Not this year. This year he has become depressed, says his teacher doesn't like him, cries and says his stomache hurts and that he doesn't want to go to school. I spoke with his teacher in November and she assured me that yes, she does like my son but feels his reaction may be to her pushing him to reach his full potential. We agreed that we would both work with him and that she would contact me if there were any problems.

During this time, there have been several clues that maybe things weren't quite right in the classroom and on Friday, I found from one of the classroom parents that the teacher has been routinely dumping my son's desk in front of the classroom and then making him pick it all up. He never told me.

I asked him about it and he admitted that this had been happening. I was so upset. I put together a scathing email to the teacher and the principle. Fortunately I didn't send it and just saved it in drafts.

But today I spoke with a couple of people and learned somethings: it is not uncommon for a teacher to dump desks to prove a point. What good does this serve? How in hell does humiliating a child ever, ever help? Someone tell me? Can you imagine having to kneel down on the floor in front of all of your classmates and pick up books and papers that your teacher just dumped out of your desk?

I sent an email to this teacher early this morning and have not heard anything back. At noon tomorrow, I will re-send my request (which was not accusatory, just a request for a meeting to discuss my son's progress and some issues) and I will cc the school priniciple. Humiliation only teaches students shame, distrust, and to hate school.

I want my son to learn to love learning, to not be afraid, to not hate school. In all the years I've had kids (this little guy is my 5th) in school, I've been very impressed with our teachers and the administration. This teacher is new to our district in the 5th grade. I'm hoping that she chooses as different career path.

The thought of someone mistreating my child, or any other child, makes me cry.

Mr. B, I love you and will protect you from your teacher.


ElderberryWine4u said...

Hi, Beth -- I spent 20 years dealing with school administrations trying to secure proper helps and curriculum for my disabled kids. Your son may not need a special curriculum (though because of his continuing difficulties with language I would recommend testing through either the school district (no cost to you)or privately (you pay but the school district is required by law to take into consideration the results of a private testing facility) in that area just to make sure. Don't send an email. Do confront the teacher face to face with her actions. If you don't like what he/she says, go directly to the principal and complain. If that doesn't work, go to the next school board meeting. On the board meeting agenda there is usually a time for "new business" where you can complain about your son's treatment. I assure you I have done all three of these. As much as I hate to say it, if you prove yourself to be a "bitch" to school authorities by showing you are not going to be pushed around (school administrators LOVE to make you feel inferior and that bad treatment of your children is solely in your imagination)regarding maltreatment of your children, you will see an improvement. I have a funny story of my brother-in-law who some years ago wound up going to his son's school to "visit" a teacher who was actually singling out and bullying my nephew. My sister is still being asked by school administrators if all of her kids are "happy" in school!

OneOldGoat said...

Thanks for your comment - that is absolutely true. I had someone once ask me if I ever got upset or angry about anything. Of course, I do - when it comes to the kids. I think that we are perfectly clear on what needs to happen in school. I actually was amazed at how well the meeting went , in spite of my outburst of tears. And you are 100% correct that the squeaky wheel gets the up-to-date testing and the help they need in the school district. Aargh!

Hope it is warmer and less snow where you are today!

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