Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bad Teacher. Bad, Bad Teacher

School has been tough on Q this year.  Like really tough.  The poor kid's learning style does not mesh with his teacher's teaching style at all.  She's super old school (and not in a hipster way....)  In a word I can describe Q's feelings when it comes to having to spend 6 hours in the same room with this woman: Terror.

Sounds a little harsh, doesn't it?  But it's totally true.  He's been on Spring Break for the past two weeks and so I knew that bed time the night before school would be unbearable unpleasant for me as I convinced him he wasn't stupid, he wasn't going to be in grade 2 forever, the teacher was not going to get mad at him, and that he is really, really smart if he just puts his mind to it.  I just didn't think I'd have to do it 3 nights before school started up again. 

Quinn's weakness is writing.  He can read the words, but he has a hard time spelling them and writing coherent sentences.  I've been working with him on it at home, my mom bought him a work book to use, we spell words at night as he's falling asleep.  But his teacher makes him really, really nervous because he's so terrified of her.  He tells me last night that she says she thinks he just wants her to do it for him.  He said the tells her no, and that he's trying, and she continually says, "Really?" until he concedes and says yes, he just wants her to spell all the words for him.  And then she'll give him a stern talking to.

I really tried to act nonchalantly when he told me this because I don't want him to a) be any more scared of his teacher than he already is or b) think he's *right* and she's *wrong*, but let me tell you my blood is boiling.  My kid, he might be a whole lot of things...rambunctious, hyper, loud.  He might forget his manners sometimes, and he might not listen when he should.  But, the one thing he is a liar.  I have pounded the importance of being honest into him since he was old enough to understand.  And truthfully, it was never that difficult, because he found out early on that being honest with me, no matter what it was, was waaaaay easier than being caught in a lie.  And Q, he has a conscience.  Even if he did get away with a lie, he'd have to tell me because he felt so horribly guilty about doing something wrong (I think he gets that from me!!)  So, first of all, I believe that his teacher says this to him (this is the second time he's told me the exact same thing) and second of all, how dare she question the character of my child on a daily basis?  I am livid.

Teachers have been on strike here in BC since the beginning of the school year or 'working to rule,' which has meant no report cards, no parent/teacher conferences, no field trips, and they refuse to meet with parents who have concerns about their children's learning.  They are doing this because they have the children's best interests at heart, and I can see how helpful this is to students across the province.  Okay, tad amount of sarcasm there...I'm not going to get into what I think about the whole strike because people just get really testy with me when I say what I'm really thinking on this subject.  I have a lot of teacher friends, too.  I just think that these *tactics* are actually affecting the children they're trying to help...but any who....

All that to say I've not been able to speak to Q's teacher about this.  What I really want to say is:

*You're the teacher.  If your teaching method is not working with my child, you need to change your teaching style so that my child can learn.  That. Is. Your. Job.  He is 7.  You have 30 years experience.  If you can not teach my child who has no disabilities, learning or otherwise, then where does the problem lie, really?

*Q can read.  He reads with me at home every single day.  He is terrified of you, and that's why he stutters when he reads for you.  He's afraid you're going to yell at him, or tell him he's not good enough, or that he's not trying hard enough.  So when you ask him if he reads at home, and he says "yes" and then you say, "Really?  It's very hard to tell."  That is not constructive.  It's hurtful and discouraging and it makes him even more nervous around you. 

*Your job is not to judge my child's moral standing to his face.  Ever.  If you think my child is a liar, a cheat or a thief, you come and talk to me, because yes, I agree we would have a problem that would require we work together to fix.

I don't know what to do.  I keep thinking this just a huge character building experience for Q.  I keep thinking that maybe he's over reacting a little bit.  I keep thinking that there are just 3 more months left and we can make it through.  I keep thinking that if we just do more work at home, he be able to spell just like a bee!!  But it's so horrible being powerless to do anything else about it.  His teacher would rather browbeat him than help him, and now our evenings are going to filled with homework and I can't help but wonder if it's because she can't do her job. 

Any great ideas on how to help kids with spelling?  I'm going to get some flash cards and stop by the book store for a *How to Help Kids Spell for Dummies* sometime this weekend, because I'm kind of invested in the success of this little guy, ya know?


  1. Is the principal (or whatever you call the person in charge of that school) also on strike? I think it might be a good idea to discuss your concerns with her/him. Not accusatory, of course, but rationally and matter-of-factly. (You may have to drink a fifth of rum before the meeting to bank down the temper.) Can your mom go with you, or a good friend?

    Then you need to read "No Substitute for Murder" (currently up on my blog) because you can get your agression out by substituting Q's teacher's name for the victim in the book. :)

    I hated my fourth grade teacher. My mother helped me by letting me call Miss Holen, Miss-Hole-In-The-Head-With-A-Horn-Sticking-Out-Of-It at home. Made me feel better. Of course, it may be why I still assign grotesque nicknames to people who annoy me in my head. Not sure that is a good thing.

  2. Ha ha ha! That is so funny Melanie. I make him laugh at home too, "Oh ya, Mrs. J***? Well, I think you are loco. Crazy Lady. Cuckoo." Of course I make him swear to never actually talk to her that way!! I think I'll go with the rum, for sure. I always say something I'll regret when a)completely sober and b)irate.

  3. I agree with Melanie. Talk with the admin(aka Mrs.M).It's not fair that a child has such a fear for their teacher and this needs to brought to someone's attention.Hang in there....only 3 more months!!!

  4. I wonder if you can have him switched. Yes it´s only three more months (a lot of which are four day weeks, maybe three with the strike) but still it will make a huge differance! I will chat with you this week about it.