Tuesday, October 08, 2013

So, school and my boy

I'm not a huge fan of the school these days.

Not sure exactly what it is but I'll admit that it has crossed my mind that it may not be the school, it may just be me and my "exacting" standards.

Because the truth is... this was the cleanest and most organised school for kilometres around here. And if we decide we don't like this school, then there is a COMMUTE in our future..........and huge logistical challenges.

I love K's teacher entirely and totally. K does too and tells me often how much she loves her teacher. So much so I let her at the washi tape (!) and she made a card for her on the weekend. The feeling is mutual because teacher C tells me also how much she loves having K in her class.

Happy days.

As for C and his teacher, things are better, I think, but we'll see in a few weeks when we have the next parent-teacher meeting.

C said last week he doesn't want to go to school because his throat is sore (this was true - end of summer little colds) and he has to sing 20 songs and don't we know it's sore to talk and sing when your throat is sore?! These are the concert songs. D wrote an email and the reply was that he has to stand wherever they say but he doesn't have to sing loud.

Then I hear K saying things to C that he's lazy. People, if you don't know this about me already, unhelpful labels like these are like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Me being the bull. I LOSE IT.

When I asked K where she gets language like that (we don't say lazy at home), she said Teacher J calls Connor lazy. And then I truly lost it.

At home, not at school.

Because Connor is the last person I would ever call lazy. Both physically (tonight he cleaned the entire bathroom - I gave him two stars) and mentally. He gets frustrated if he can't do things nicely (as he calls it) but he's not lazy. I would call him stubborn and emotional - it may be 4-years-old, it may be Connor.

I said to D that night that you can smack a child and he's forgotten it an hour later but labels stick and do deep damage. (you might disagree with me - that's fine)

There was another incident, small but niggly in that way you can't quite put your finger on it.

And again, I just have a sense something's not right. He looks like Charlie Brown when he's at school. That sad and quiet and downcast look (kind of like I feel nowadays! :)).

Now again, I'm well aware that my emotions are all over the place with the work thing (cried again today - nothing "happened" - just I feel so hopeless - my word for this month is hope - I just want to be able to see a path out) but I don't have the peace of God about this school thing.

Of course, if you're a Christian you'll know it's madness to even THINK of starting that conversation with the school. "I can't quite put my finger on it but I just feel like God's telling me there's something not right over here" - let's see how that one goes down!

So I just kept quiet and continued praying and praying.

And then the other night D said to me as we were falling asleep, "Marsh, I don't know if this school is right for Connor. It feels like there's something going on" and I shouted, "BINGO!"

Seriously :)

They have assessments this week and next week and after that we will have another meeting.

This post is going nowhere fast!

What do you think is going on?

I thought maybe because of the sweets thing, they don't like me (this is probably true) but I'm really not sure anymore.

D and I just talked some more - he thinks C lacks confidence because of his teacher's "hardness". Since he's the more easygoing of the two of us, he's going to go snoop a bit at school in the mornings. I'm also going to ask Nanny S to get Connor talking and to chat to the teacher's assistant. And of course, I'll keep praying.


  1. Gosh this is such a minefield!! Either way you step you could possibly stand on one!

    The thing is kids have 14/15 years of school - so that means a min of 15 teachers (realistically probably closer to 25) - there is no way that your kid will bond with each and every teacher - I remember hating certain teachers and loving others. This year it may be C but next it may be K.

    I am not saying do nothing because you can't let your child continue to be unhappy BUT there are 8 more weeks of school. To make changes now may be more disruptive? And if you move schools you have no guarentee the teacher will bond with K? Maybe go talk to the teacher about using the negative labels and ask if you can assist with issues?

    I don't think its the school - the disagreements you are having with the school are likely to happen until matric so you need to suck those up and move on. If K was unhappy too then possibly the school!

  2. Oh no! I have no ideas - this is really tough - but the thought of a sad little Connor us breaking my heart :(

  3. If he is not happy, you definately need to address the issue and do something, but it is close to the end of the year, so moving him now will just disrupt his life. I know the commute thing is a nightmare, but is there not another school that you could perhaps send him to? Or would you want to keep them together? Will he have the same teacher next year? If not, perhaps just let D have a snoop etc and try and keep it together until the end of the year. Unfortunately, as Laura says, your child will not have an amazing bond with everyone of their teachers, but you also do not want them to dislike their teacher so much that school becomes a problem.

    And the last thing you want is to see the light go out in his gorgeous sparkly eyes.

    Pray my friend, pray.

  4. I don't remember now, but why haven't you switched him in with K?
    I agree with Laura that you love some and and not so much others, but even when "hating" a teacher you shouldn't hate school and it certainly shouldn't change your feelings about yourself. My ladies are very independent but they will most definitely start them in school together. I feel like I can get a better read on their classroom if I have two stories to help me put the truth together! LOL! Stay strong!

  5. I think if both of you are picking up on the same gut feeling, then move him as soon as possible. Trust your own instincts on this Marcia. These are the formative years, and I agree completely with you on the labels...they stick forever and can do unimaginable damage to his self esteem for years to come.

  6. I remember reading about this months ago. Is there not a way to get him switched into Kendra's class? Labels like lazy are crushing to a child. And, even if she said he was 'acting lazy', a preschooler isn't going to distinguish the difference. He's your baby. You are his advocate. If you (and your husband) both feel like his class is detrimental to him, you need to have him moved. I am so sorry this is happening to you. :(

  7. If there are just eight weeks left of the year, can't you just take him out and make your decisions and start fresh next year. It breaks my heart that such a little guy is getting squashed so young. I wish he could just play and be busy and happy all day... who on earth would call a four year old lazy... lazy!!! If he isn't busy then his teacher hasn't provided him with the opportunity to be busy... maybe she wants whatever he wants to be doing tidy right then and it leaves him kind of drifting - I don't have a clue - all I can say is go with your guts and if you all are that miserable then take him out already... Oh be brave this is a really hard one, you guys have to be his voice. Maybe he and his teacher aren't a good fit... Maybe he is just absorbing your stress, I know one of mine does that and I can be blissfully unaware that he is dealing with all my grown-up stuff... even if you don't talk about it around them some kids just now when life is messy. Hang in there... this time will pass and you will forget it and move on to different issues!!! That's parenting and you really are good at it, just keep at it with all your heart!!!

  8. I hear what Laura is saying and I do agree that there won’t always be a connection between learner and teacher but seriously. HE’s 4 years old. This is supposed to be a period of happiness and innocence and laughter and play and skipping and learning through fun and play. Learning how to connect with a teacher that you don’t connect with is a skill that an OLDER child needs to learn. Not a 4-year old. These are his formative years and there is just sooooo much risk of long-term damage. I think, move him with Kendra ASAP. I get that sometimes we want to try to look at all the options and try everything (talking/meetings etc) to resolve an issue with teachers but with kids (especially little kids) it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes one needs to do some risk management and act QUICKLY. I feel that this has gone on for too long and when I try to put myself in his 4-year old shoes then I want to cry for him. Can you imagine how hard this must be for him? Also. You MUST trust your instincts. They are there for a reason.

  9. Yikes!!!

    This doesn't sound good. I don't know what I'll do but it just doesn't seem right. And while I do agree with Laura I think he's too young not to enjoy school or "make" a connection with his teacher. C is anything but lazy :( :(

  10. Can't you ask for him to be moved to K's class? I would! It seems as though her teacher is lovely. He and his teacher might just have a personality clash?

  11. She just sounds like she shouldn't be teaching the little guys! Ugh. We had a crappy kindergarten teacher for Lili, it was horrible. I agree with the others- can he be switched into Kendra's class?

  12. Oi.. I have no advice. All I know is, if my child was unhappy and something or someone was crushing his/her spirit, I would take action!! Hannah was such a different child to Liam and the issues I have with her at school, I never encountered with Liam.. She takes really long to warm up to people, and because of this people (her teacher) take long to warm up to her. And it used to seriously piss me off - I mean the teacher is the adult, she needs to bridge that gap but I just didn't like the way she responded to Hannah. For me, a pre school teacher is a different type of person, who needs to connect, engage and LOVE on the little people in her care?? My concern was noted, but I was told to give it a few months.. which I did.. and I must honestly say, she has bonded with her teacher - although I still find teacher a bit cold at times and it troubles me. I have this fantasy that my kids will get on with their teachers like I did with mine.. I need to get over it for the reasons Laura has explained!
    Hoping this situation is resolved, poor baby xxx

  13. I really believe that if a hild is unhappy at school the teacher needs to give answers. I remember when Kobus jr was in grade1 he came home saying the teacher doesn't like him. The next day I was there and wanted her to tell me why he feels she doesn't like him. She didn't nlike it but things improved after that.


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