Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"When we grew up and went to school, there were certain teachers who..."

We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone! Hey teacher leave them kids alone! All in all it's just another brick in the wall. All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

Thanks go out to Fluffy for watching the kids while I wasted a half hour of my life at my son's new school. Yep, LittleMan has started kindergarten. You'd think that little sentence would bring much pride and joy to me. Instead, I grasp my sweaty, stressed out head in my hands.

Last night was curriculum night for his class. I sat with a group of wide eyed parents, in a little chair, and listen to the excited teacher explain to us that the curriculum was "very challenging". She went on and on about learning the alphabet, studying sight words and beginning reader books with lots of pictures. All of this is to encourage our little ones to be great readers. And the math, augh! Practice shapes, groupings and penny counting to further their math skills. At home, continue to practice writing lower case letters (she looked directly at me for that one), and get out the magnetic letters to spell out 3 letter words. She included letter flash cards in the packet for us clueless parents. That fucking packet! Totally useless to me. All it did was provide what was expected out of our children by the end of the year, and outline of the curriculum... It showed me that my kid is in the wrong class academically, and that he'll waste an entire year doing things that he did when he was 2 and 3 years old. I sat in that chair, staring at the teacher, feeling that I made the wrong choice in putting LittleMan into public schools. She asked us if we had any questions or concerns. I continued to sit, and stare, not knowing where to even begin. Fuck! I am already getting the concerned phone calls and comments from the teacher, telling me my son doesn't seem interested in following her directions. Going on and on about how he "races through his class work" (and yes, he does it correctly) but then refuses to "sit down nice" while the others struggle to spell their names. He has even refused to write his name for her... the rebellion has already begun. He is going to get a label, and it won't be "he is extremely gifted". If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!

The school principle looks so much like the teacher in the video...


Ron said...

Hey! That was my Floyd idea too! ;)

Anonymous said...

home school?

Biddie said...

Ugh. I had the same problems with KC in kindergarten. She sat still and that was not a problem (until Kayla came along 3 years later lol)BUT she most of what the teacher was teaching. She ended up in a gifted program for a couple of years. Do they have that?
I dunno. I started my kids out that public school, and it was bad. I transferred them to the Catholic system, and things got a bit better. I'm not saying that Catholic is the way to go, not at all, but it worked better than the public system.
Maybe they should skip him into grade 1. I've seen that done, too.
Poor LittleMan. The last thing he needs is to be labelled.

Further on up the road said...

Wrong do it again.... Wrong do it again...

Sad. My wife works in school - slightly older as she is now in year 6 - I think same as Grade 6 maybe a year or two out, until recently she was Special needs in Year 3. I know how hard she works with some of the kids to help them. But some kids don't click. My son is dyslexic (so am I) and he struggled until the right help at 12 then he flew and is now an A grade student and soon off to read physics and university.

I think you have to be honest with the teacher that he is above this and needs streching - that is as important to him as her getting the lower ability pupils for form a word. She is a professional - challenge her politely but firmly.

Last year they tried to get a reading age for my daughter - then 10. It was off the scale - i.e. more than 15 I think. So they got her into Dickens and Shakespear.

Good luck

bob said...

Schools are not designed to help individual children live up to their full potential, the are designed to see that all children live up to a baseline of capabilities that can be successfully tested for purposes of funding.

If your child is on the low-end of the capabilities spectrum, there are lots of funds to mainstream them. If your child is on the high-end, it is harder to get help in the public system.

Unfortunately, the gifted young child often exhibits behaviors that are disruptive in the classroom for no reason other than they are bored to tears. As the child gets older and develops more sophisticated (and effective) social skills, this gets better. . .but unless the child is stimulated and challenged, these feelings of boredom and dissatisfaction won't go away.

I know this because I'm living it too with my two kids. It's not easy.

The approach we used was to talk to the teacher and the senior administrators about how everyone can work together to help the child to "participate in class" at the same time that everyone works together to help the child "meet his potential". Those are code-words for "yes, he's bored, but we know that social skills are important so we're willing to play ball if you help us to keep him interested".

If you want to talk to an expert on this let me know - Julie is about as good of an advocate for the gifted child as I know.

The label of "extremely gifted" doesn't have to carry a concurrent label of "royal pain in the ass" if expectations are managed properly.


* (asterisk) said...

I'm not surprised to read this, Camie, since it has been clear from other posts that Lil'Guy is as bright as a button. And being brighter than the rest of the class is something of a curse, because there aren't the facilities to deal with that in public schools. It's the same here. I guess all you can do is express your concerns and see where that gets you, but like some other commenters have implied, it might mean moving to another school. Drag.

Cynnie said...

you have more power than you think..

dont lose your temper, but be RELENTLESS

you get blocked by a no, go over their head..
and keep going over heads..
dont stop, write letters , make phone calls.
but always be polite and do not take no for an answer.

changes can be made..
you can do it baby..

you need any help with writing to anyone ( not that you can't do it ..I'm thinking timewise not ability wise..ya know ?)
let me know baby..
I'm here for you..

Laura said...

Frygirl had the same problems in the early grades. The nice thing is, our schools caught up to her level. Now, she actually has to 'work' for her grades.

Teachers tend to give you the evil eye if you express concerns about your child being bored. They're a lot nicer a few weeks later, when your child HAS been bored. LittleMan needs something fun and educational to do while the others are learning the basics. The teacher needs to use her education for a change.

Gardenia said...

Ohhhhhhhhh man - here we go - fit 'em into the box and if they don't fit - - - wellllllllllll

My grandson started public school too after many years of montessori - but I'm impressed so far - I'm going to volunteer for Fridays so I can watch and also maybe help some kids out - this particular school has an accelerated curriculum, in fact separate classes for the accelerated kids - that's good!

I remember public school when I was a child many-many years ago and having my hands spanked with a ruler because I would finish the dang book in a week while the class went on and on and on - not that I'm so gifted, but my mother read to me a lot and I learned.

Maybe homeschooling will end up your only option - they really should work with you to come up with an option - BUT so many public schools seem at war with parents for some unknown apparently kinky reason -

I can surmise they don't have the resources or are too lazy to take care of the kids either behind or ahead of the mainstream.

Good Luck! It does sound like you have some sound advice coming through the comments.

Aunt Jackie said...

Yeah... what they all said!! :)

tideliar said...

Sucks Cammie :( I hope you get something sorted out.

The Anti Crapitalist said...

He might waste an entire year doing things that he did when he was 2 and 3 years old, but at least (they figure) that if that's the case he might vote republican in 14 years time! Its the same in the UK. They dumb down the curriculum to such an extent that you have to take their needs into your own hands and trust that your kid has the talent to rise above it!

cappy said...

why do they insist on making us sit on those bloody small chairs???