Monday, September 12, 2011


I'm not sure if I mentioned this in a previous post, but this year L has two different teachers at school. He is in grade three, and it's kind of an important year, so I'm not quite sure how to take this news. Not that we've had any actual "official news" about it. Only what he and the other boy in his class have mentioned.
I am frustrated. It seems that every year I am fighting with the school about something to do with L's class placement. Or I'm upset but silent about it.
In JK, L had the most amazing teacher. She made all the difference in my choice to leave L in school. He was so young when he started, just 3.5 really, as his birthday is late December. He was just a baby, to me, and never been away from me. He really struggled with being away from me. And having school every other day for a full day each time was hard on him. He was still napping at the time too! If it hadn't been for his wonderful, caring teacher, plus the EA in the room (she was amazing too and helped all the children, not just the one or two she was assigned to), I am sure I would have pulled him out and left it for the year.
So the next year, we happily started SK and got to know his new teacher. She was young. She obviously didn't have children herself and had limited experience (from what I could tell) with children that young. She was coming from teaching grade four, apparently. Let's just say, I didn't agree with her philosophies and how she approached the children. She wasn't mean...just....not motherly AT ALL. And I'm sorry, but a kindergarten teacher needs to be motherly.
As the end of SK approached, I expressed my desire to her that L not be placed in a certain grade one classroom. Any other teacher was fine. Of course, he was placed in the one teacher's classroom I didn't want. And his best friend from kindergarten wasn't in his class either, because the teacher felt it would be beneficial to split them up.
Beneficial to who?? They weren't trouble-makers. They weren't co-dependent on each other. They just needed some comfort of a familiar face, each other. They were two little boys with similar personalities and similar birthdates that got along really well with each other.
So we struggled through grade one with the teacher that, when you mentioned you had her to other parents they gave you the sympathetic look like your pet just died. She wasn't mean, but not a strong teacher at all. She was flakey and phoney and when you spoke to her you felt like she was being very condescending and that she was wanting to be anywhere but in your presence. Again, another single woman with no children of her own, although she would have been much more suited to kindergarten. On top of all that, his classroom was a split class, a strange gr.1/SK split. My L is very distractable. He can be distracted from a task by the wind. Imagine trying to make a gr.1 child work and focus, while kindergarten children are playing around him.
He came out of grade one with the teacher telling me that he wasn't where he should be in his reading and writing. Well, go figure.
The morning gr.2 started I was hopeful, optimistic and rejoiced that we would get a fresh start. However, I quickly learned that he had been placed in her classroom, yet AGAIN!!
DH and I couldn't believe it. How could this be happening? We went straight to the principal and complained.
I was distraught. I had even written a very nice and hopeful letter to the principal the previous spring asking very nicely if L could be placed in a certain teacher's classroom, one his brother was in before, and the teacher I knew to be fantastic and amazing and that would get him up to where he needed to be.
I don't think he even read that letter. In a very patronizing tone, the principal told us that that classroom was full, save one spot, and that that spot would only be given to a girl. RRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!! He could take L out of the classroom and put him in one of the other classrooms, both strong teachers I knew well, but both teaching splits. So we had to weigh the options. What would be better, have him in the weak teacher's class, or have him in a split? (Again, very distracting for him). Since his best buddy was in his class this year, we decided to stay where we were. I'm still not sure that was a good decision....
This year, again, I was hopeful. Positive that things could only be good. We had had three shoddy years. Our luck had to change.
The first day of school dawned, and in the line-up to go in, we learned his teacher was not going to be one of the other three that I knew of, but a different one. Ok, that's fine, I thought, I don't know any of R's teachers either with him being the oldest and being the "guinea pig". I have no expectations this way. L was dismayed to learn who she was, as he knew her from in the school. Apparently, she normally teaches all the students something called Media Literacy. I'm not really sure what that is, or why we need it, but whatever.
As the afternoon came to a close that first day, I learned more disheartening news. L was to have not just this M.L. teacher, but another as well, because she still has to teach M.L. two days a week.
I'm not really sure that having two different teachers is the best thing for L to have. He needs consistency. I'm sure that these two teachers are fully qualified and all, but they are two different people, with two different teaching styles, two different personalities, and two different philosophies. Who will teach what? Will they both teach a little of everything, or will they split up the subjects? (Which would be best, I think). If L only likes one of them, will he be miserable a few days a week and happy the other? It's only inevitable that he will have a preference for one over the other.
The thing that I'm most perturbed about, is that the school itself hasn't even bothered to send out an official notice of this. Were they not going to tell us this information? Did they not think it important enough to have the courtesy of letting the parents know?
I am frustrated, as I said. And weary. I know if I go in and complain and question, I'm going to get the same old patronizing speech as usual. Last year, about two thirds of the way through the year, we sat down with the good ol' principal and his sidekick VP and had a chat about some issues occurring with last year's teacher. After venting our frustrations and again reiterating our dismay at having the same teacher two years in a row, the principal assured us that next year he'd make sure L had a good teacher, and was in a good situation.
Yeah, thanks so much buddy.
I wish I had recorded that conversation so I could play it back to him.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, sorry you're having such horrible luck with teachers. A good (or bad) teacher makes all the difference in the world with how a child learns. And what's with a Grade 1/SK split????? That completely boggles my mind. I've never heard of that. SK is a totally different ball game from grade 1, why on earth would you put them together??? Anyways, I hope he ends up having a good year, even with the 2 teachers.