Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yet Another Quandry

Here I am, once again faced with another decision regarding L's education. As I mentioned in this post, L has two different teachers this year. I didn't update you on this, but I did in fact, talk to the principal. I didn't go in with a complaining-fix-this-now attitude, but I did go in and speak with him as a concerned parent left out of the loop.
The principal at our school really should have been a politician. Really. He always has a smile on his face, and he works very hard I think at making it seem genuine. No one can be that happy all the time to be talking to disgruntled parents and dealing with children that are causing problems or having issues. He likes to placate the parents, tell them what he thinks they want to hear without out-right lying. He paints a glorious rainbow over the situation every time.
I guess I shouldn't complain. At least he's approachable. I just wish sometimes he'd be a little more honest and less, I don't know, "everything is perfect at my school". He does know my face now though. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, LOL!
Anyhow, he once again, painted his pretty picture with words and gushed over how good these two teachers are. He explained (and not very well), that L's class was not so very different than the other grade three classes, because the other classes' teachers leave the classroom for planning time for a grand total of six hours per week. In his mind, every class has another teacher for basically what adds up to a full day over the course of the week. L's class just happens to have another teacher for two days a week.
But that's not exactly true. You see, all the classes have gym with another teacher, and library, and computers, and whatever else (like media literacy). So the teacher can use those times for their planning time. So it really doesn't add up, if you see what I'm getting at.
But back to the issue at hand. The principal also said that he purposely placed L in that classroom because of his reading and writing issues, as he feels that those two teachers would be the best ones for him. He made a point to say the issues that my husband and I spoke to him about and were concerned about last year were what prompted him.
Basically, in his very political way and without so many words he was telling me don't I dare complain because it is for L's sake he is in that class almost at DH's and my request. In a manner of speaking.
So I decided to leave him be, and see how it pans out. He was settling into the class now and he did seem to like his teacher. He brought home this ginormous project to do over the course of two weeks that was basically a front page of a newspaper with all these sections to fill out about himself. That was like torture to L, all that writing. Long story short, there were many tears, many hours put into this and in the end, my wonderful sister N skyped with us and helped L to complete the project in no time at all. I love her!!
After that ordeal, I decided to write the teacher a note and have a meeting with her. I needed to know if this was going to be a common occurrence; what were the expectations of a grade three student and how much was I supposed to be helping? What was the amount of homework she would be sending home? I needed to make it clear to her that this was very stressful on our family, and that L just isn't ready for that level of work.
So this morning I trudged into the school at a rather early hour. The only kids at the school yet were the ones training for cross-country running. The principal met me at the front door and asked me if I was going in to see Mrs. G. I said yes, and then he said he'd walk with me. I guess my face belied terror because he laughed and said not to worry, no one's in trouble! Ha ha. I don't know why I reacted like that but I guess I just immediately think the worst when the boss or the principal wants to talk to you. Gut reaction I suppose. I always have a hard time hiding anything on my face. You can read me like a book.
He said that they were going to be moving a few students out of the class and into another classroom. He asked me if I would be ok with L being one of them. Now I'm confused. Didn't he just tell me last week that he placed L in that class for his own good? That his words, specifically, were, "Honestly, if my son were in this school I would definitely want him in this classroom." So why now is he giving me the option of moving him out? Did he think I was complaining? Did he think I was hoping for a transfer? In all honesty I kind of was, but only to another certain teacher's room, the teacher R had for grade three. Not to this other teacher's room, Mrs. V. I don't know her any better than I know L's teacher, plus she is pregnant. Which means she'll be leaving soon and he'll have yet again ANOTHER teacher! What if she's terrible? But maybe it would be better to have just one teacher for consistency's sake. What if the teacher turns out to be Mrs. B, who R had for kindergarten and is a long term supply teacher? She was amazing. Then I would be kicking myself. That's a stretch though, a big what if.
I did go in and speak with his possibly temporary teacher. She seemed nice. She definitely appeared to be on the ball. She was easy to talk to, not patronizing in any way (like L's last teacher was) and not fake. She seemed like she could be a real hard-ass if need be, but I didn't get the impression that she was overtly mean.
I just don't know what to do. I'm so confused. I did call another mom, whose child is L's only friend in the class. I gave her the head's up about what was happening, and told her that I was up in the air about it. I also think that the two of them should stay together, because I would feel bad for L's friend if we left him behind, and even worse for L if the friend got moved and he didn't. Then he'd really have no friends in that class.
Which brings me to another issue. L has been upset that he has "no friends" as he puts it. No one to play with at recess except his buddy J (who's in another class). Perhaps moving to that other classroom would rekindle some friendships once again. When I say his only friend in the class, I really mean that. For some strange reason, none of the other boys except for the one have ever been in L's class before. Not even kindergarten. So it's almost like starting from scratch for him.
What to do, what to do. DH will be no help. He'll likely tell me to do whatever I think best, since he has even less insight than I do into what the teachers are like. I'm thinking I'll ask L what he thinks. Maybe he can't stand the teacher, Mrs. V. I need to talk to the other mom again, see if she has any more thoughts. And lastly, I need to speak with the principal again, tell him how confused he's made me and ask him why he would even give us this choice.
I'll keep you posted...


  1. Why are they moving kids now? School has started for goodness sake. I would think that moving Logan, going through all that upheaval and then having him deal with a new teacher when this one goes off in maternity leave is a lot to ask a kid. Is he good with change?


  2. I think it's an odd time to move too. Maybe too many parents complained? Who knows, just seems odd.

    Getting good teachers is such a crap shoot. We've had good luck so far, at least with my 2 boys. But both of them are your average kid, who does fairly well in class and has no behaviour issues. Kaia, on the other hand, while she's not a difficult kid by any means, she obviously doesn't fit into the "perfect student" box. And that was an issue with her SK teacher. I had lots of problems with her and her attitude towards Kaia. I couldn't wait for her SK year to be over. Then Pierce enters JK and he gets that same teacher! Ugh! I was devastated. But, it turns out, (as much as I hate to admit), she was a really good teacher for Pierce. He thrived in that class. Because he fit into her "perfect student" box. I'm not sure what my point in all of this is. Really, you have to do what is best for L. Other opinions from those who have had certain teachers are helpful, but what has been a good experience for one, is not necessarily the same for another. It all depends on the kid.

    I have to go back and read your other post about the 2 teachers, but my kids have always had 2 teachers. Sorta. There's the regualar teacher, and the "planning time" teacher. The regular teacher teaches all core subjects, and the planning time teacher teaches gym, music, art, and health. But it's not 2 teachers teaching the same subject. Who knows, maybe it may be beneficial for him to have the 2, in case he doesn't quite mesh with one. It will give him a better chance at success if he has at least 1 teacher that helps him learn.

    Wow...long babbling comment full of nothing.