I steal a line from a book I just finished “the mother of all fears and the fear of all mothers” (and use it in my own way) to say that I am NOT happy with the school situation for Niamh.
Her original teacher is back as of Jan 1. There was supposed to be a transition couple days with the sub but they were missed due to arctic days off. I gave the benefit of the doubt for the first week but 4 weeks later she still seems disorganized and I don’t know what to think exactly.
exhibit 1; The sub did a ‘gold star’ for a boy and a girl every day. Niamh worked hard to earn one and once she figured it out she got 3 more fast. I know that it is a technique that can backfire but for Niamh she figured out the behavior that was rewarded and worked for it. Returning teacher didn’t do any stars for 2 weeks and Niamh told me it was because nobody was ‘good enough’. I wrote a note asking and the reply was that she runs out of time…. THEN one Monday Niamh gets off the bus with a star! Yippie! Celebration! Then I read her communication sheet for the day and find out the star was for a day last week she was very good but TODAY she had a very bad day. Huh, so I spent 5 min praising and high fiving on a day that she pulled someones hair. THAT got a note back about timeliness etc and for that I got no reply.
exhibit 2; or should I say lack of exhibit 2… of the 31 days in the month 20ish are school days and in the past 3 months she had homework 18 of the 20 normally. Little things really but it showed me what she was doing in school and how she did work. Of the remarkably scant 12 days of school this month she has only had homework less then half the time. She also has not been getting weekly agenda every week (they have an outline of what they are doing including the book of the week and little things to work on at home). Last week we didn’t even get a communication sheet that we are REQUIRED to sign nightly to prove we read it. So um, is it Niamh loosing papers or the teacher not giving them?
exhibit 3; her report card. She is doing fine. At grade level for everything and above for music. They don’t grade math apparently but in the language breakdown she is not quite where she should be on a few things. I know, not all kids learn at the same rate and time but I have no idea if the teacher even has the ability to asses!?! They include some of the test sheets and Niamh totally phoned it in. Is she bored? distracted? etc? I don’t know but the variable of changing teachers is not helping.
exhibit 4; According to Niamh kids are leaving the class to be home schooled. They will be back next year (according to Niamh) but this tells me that I’m not alone in doubting the situation.
exhibit 5; This one takes the cake. Due to lack of a communication sheet I have no idea if Niamh has 5 days of school next week. I heard from another mom her child was off for kindergarten round up this week and it is a different day per school. I remember this from last year but I would have appreciated a reminder since it is on none of the district calendars since it is only for kindergarten.
I don’t know what the result of this evidence is. I know a good foundation is important but I also know that very little will ‘wreck’ someone this young. I am not ready to home school and I think the social aspect is important. Last night I was remembering how painfully shy Niamh used to be, maybe she is working more on using her new social skills then school skills at the moment. Well, now I’ve told the blog world, I should type something for the teacher because the only way though this is through it.
** The book is ironically ‘Freerange Kids’ and there is a whole chapter about knowing that you as a parent do not have as much control or effect as you think. There is also a chapter about not stressing out about school… you can see I’m not taking big steps but I am taking baby steps.