Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How About a Little Context?

Thanks everyone for your comments, words of encouragement, questions, and even your disagreement regarding my last post. For those of you just judging, thanks for stopping by, move along now.

Because I have no brain space for another topic at this time I thought it might help if I provided a little context for those of you just tuning in. Here's a bulleted list (cause that's the way I roll) of our reasoning. I would have alphabetized or categorized it but, you know, I'm not rigid or anything.

  • She is COLD. By all accounts, including her fellow teachers.
  • Any and all attempts to reach out to her have been utterly and completely rebuffed.
  • She's got a 3 month old and a 3 year old. We all know how hard that can be and as a mother, I sympathize. As the mother of my child, if you can't handle the kids, stay out of the classroom.
  • HRH does nothing in school besides busy work - pages and pages of rudimentary work sheets (Last week's homework was to trace the letters of the alphabet).
  • She's done nothing to break them up into groups based on reading/academic level.
  • HRH is constantly being given timeout for truly minor infractions such as talking in the corridors or touching a friend.
  • One day, she forgot about him during one such time out and he sat at his table for the entire free period while the other kids were playing around him.
  • The day we pulled him out, he reported that someone had crumpled up a tissue and thrown it on the floor. Mrs. Smith told the entire class that unless someone owned up to it, the entire class would not have 'free time.' HRH eventually confessed, not because he did it but because he thought he might have done it.
  • His entire class was made to keep quiet for a day because Mrs. Smith had a headache.
  • HRH's out of school personality has changed dramatically. He's having constant meltdowns over nothing, doesn't want to play with his friends after school, and is fighting constantly (up from most of the time) with his brother.
  • His reading skills have deteriorated since starting kindergarten.
  • Last but not least, he's developed a stutter.

Again, thank you all for your insights. Trust me when I tell you this decision was not made in a vacuum. We did discuss moving him to the other kindergarten class and/or talking to the principal however, she's not going to change her entire style of teaching because I complained, the other kindergarten teacher is brand new, so we didn't even have anecdotal history to go on, and we did not want him to be 'the kid whose parents moved him.' Plus, some of the assignments sent home are coming from both kindergarten teachers, so I'm not convinced the other teacher would be teaching at a higher level.

We were very fortunate in that his preschool just started a kindergarten this year. After speaking to the teacher (who was HRH's last year's teacher, under whom he THRIVED) and the director, we were able to move him into that class (at twice the cost...). We need to start back at square one planning for next year and this option definitely created the least upheaval in his life. On the contrary, the last three months would be the blip.

For the past two mornings, HRH has woken up enthusiastically, gotten dressed and ready eagerly and cooperatively, and went to school with a huge grin on his face.

Life's problems are not so easily solved, nor will we immediately jump to fix every bump. But this was something we felt strongly enough about to make the changes. And we're standing behind them.


G said...

I'm glad you are at peace with your decision. Good for you for being his champion!


Andrea said...

I didn't realize you had already made the change. The context definitely helps and would have changed my response last night, had I known (mea culpa).

That said, I applaud your decisiveness and I'm thrilled that HRH is so happy.

In a similar vein, one of Alison's teachers had a 12-month-old at home and was pregnant. She was totally unhinged and was a disaster in every way for Alison. Her sheer incompetency cost us nearly $700 in math tutoring the following summer. And math is one of Ali's best subjects! So good for you for recognizing all the warning signs so clearly and so early.

Cat said...

I think you have made a great decision. His teacher last year was so so wonderful. I bet he is so happy to be back there.

texasholly said...

You got to do what is best for the kid. period. Without delay. They are little for such a little time. They are counting on us to do the best by them. You are doing good. And, let me just say if I received that email below back after I voiced concern I would be doing the exact same thing...pull him out! OMG. I understand that teachers don't have unlimited time, but to not even give an option of a face to face conversation is beyond what I can comprehend. Kindergarten is such a time of wonder. It takes a lot to squash that...get him back to a place where he can enjoy life and be a Kindergartner! YEAH!

Ellyn said...

I am almost crying for those kids. Here is hoping the rest of the parents pull thier kids too.

Good call on your part. Better to act now at the beginning of the year than wait until January when you can't stand it anymore.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I think you are a wonderful advocate for your son and find this very inspiring.

JCK said...

Christine, I'm just catching up with all of this. I am so sorry that HRH has not been happy in his Kindergarten and that you couldn't even get a meeting with his teacher. That is a bit bizarre to me.

You are mom. You know best. I hope all of you are feeling better. Sending hugs.

anymommy said...

Good for you, I hope he continues to love it and thrive. I really believe that these first years determine whether they like school or hate it. It's so important.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

The proof is in the puddin'. You have a happy boy who wakes up and wants to go to school. You totally made the right call. It stinks that there are kindergarten teachers like that.

Anonymous said...

I think you know when something is just WRONG for your kid. Glad to hear you've found a happy place for HRH to be for the remainder of the school year, and good luck planning for next year!

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Good for you on your strong decision to do what is best for your child!

Jennifer Suarez said...

The class had to be quiet b/c she had a headache? Oh dear - sounds like someone might have had a hangover.

This is the reaon *I* could never be a teacher. I'd probably require too many "quiet days" Hee hee!

Sounds to me like you know what you are doing and you have no need to feel hurt or judged by any commenters. They don't know the whole story - if they did, they wouldn't be so quick to judge.

Of course if you are anything like me, you can get 10 positive comments and 2 bad comments and you spend the night mulling over the bad ones. My mind is always doing the How dare they say that? They obviously have no clue of the situation. Wait maybe they are right. Let me re-analyzie everything I wrote. No no, they aren't right, screw that, etc. Or maybe you're not like that and I'm just totally insane. It's possible ;-)

Jennifer H said...

I absolutely think you did the right thing for your child. And I still think a letter to the previous school administration is in order.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Deja vu! There will be lots of teachers but only one set of parents who knows what's best for their son.

MadMad said...

Yikes! What an awful process to go through. Sadly it doesn't sound all that uncommon: my daughter had a teacher who SMOKED out the window during class! Can you believe it?! Good for you for taking charge!

Sue said...

I nearly cried reading those bullet points. Poor HRC!

I think Jessica went through something similar when she started first grade this year(though probably not the hangover...I mean headache incident), but the major difference in my sitation was that I was able to communicate with the teacher and work things out. Jessica's behavior at home was similarly disagreeable while she was going through that experience, but she is now back to her happy little self. Doesn't sound like a turnaround in HRC's case was going to happen with a teacher like that. Poor kid. But like you said, it'll just be a blip in the longrun.

I bet HRC's teacher has been hammered by a lot of parents and *that* is most likely the reason she didn't want a conference. She knew exactly how it was going to go down. The principal probably did, too. Jerks.

Glad you made the switch and things are back on track.

the new girl said...


Ashley. Unscripted... said...

This is my nightmare. Sounds like you did the right thing. Poor baby.


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