Friday, February 29, 2008

Low Point

Yesterday was one of the worst days that I can remember. When I think about how good I felt holding Henry in my arms when we left the hospital with him, how wholly excited and positive the experience was, and where we are now, it breaks my heart.

The teacher told the principal that she has no idea why he would suddenly attack her like that, and that there is no explanation. I have an explanation, but no one wants to listen. The teacher, while very kind and well-meaning, is inexperienced and Henry walks all over her. He also adores her, but he knows if he refuses to do work she just sends it home with him. She is so afraid that he will get upset in her classroom (and make her look bad) that she just squelches any problem before it starts, so Henry never learns to deal with things. Cary has given her very specific instructions about what to do in these situations, but she chooses not to use his advice.

The work that made him so angry was a coloring book. He told me, "I feel like I color every piece of work I do." And it isn't far from the truth. He is sick of coloring and I don't blame him. He is bored. Obviously that is no excuse for injuring your teacher, but no one at the school picked up on the significance of this and to me and Cary it was so obvious. The principal said, "We don't understand, she's asked him to do much more challenging things before." Now I don't understand what it is in Henry that makes it so hard to push past the thought that he doesn't want to do something, but it troubles me that no one recognizes that it is ridiculous how much these kids color, yet they never get a true break. His teacher prides herself on making them work through snack. She's taking them sledding today so they can use the material for a "non-fiction writing experience." (Henry can't go sledding because of yesterday. How much do you want to bet it is going to be a problem when it comes time for the writing piece to be done too).

And I don't just think the teacher's inexperience is to blame. The school knew that Henry was difficult even before he was enrolled and they insist on placing him with inappropriate teachers, and then take NO responsibility for this. Why they would give a kid who struggled behaviorally last year to the brand new teacher, and give her all of the ESL kids (most of whom are very bright - but that doesn't make them easy) is beyond me.

Could it be that the more experienced teachers and the parents who are very involved in the school have the clout to demand each other? Sadly, that will never be me.

I am left feeling like we have made choices as a family like buying a house in a school district with very high taxes that was supposed to be excellent, and now I don't know whether to yank my kid out, or move, or what.


Aunt Bob said...


I'm at a loss for what to say except ugh. Just keep on being his advocate and working both ends of the system.

J Frank Parnell said...

Ditto. Stay on those teachers, even if it feels like less than other parents' efforts. If it makes you feel any better, you're far from truly uninvolved, anyway -- I've taught kids (as young as 12) who get high with their parents, if they can find them, before they come to school.

(ps - check the Smiths post again - I added two mp3s at the end)

Auntly H said...

I have no idea what to suggest, but this sure doesn't sound like the right school for Henry.

Jen14221 said...

Sorry to hear that you are struggling with this kind of stuff. I'm thinking about you, and Henry (who I think is so sweet), too.