So let me tell you what happened. Got a cup of coffee and a few minutes? Ok, here we go.....
Syd (my almost 5 year old) and I got to the school at 2:15. The party started at 2:30 so I had lots of time to find a parking space and get into the school. Fast forward.....
Dakota and his classmates were enjoying some pizza, fruit, cheese, veggies and drinks. The teacher pretty much ignored me for the first 15 minutes. I was ok with sitting next to Dakota and Syd and talking to a few parents I knew. She was busy with getting the games, food and volunteer parents organized. When she was done, she walked by and casually said, "So, you got my note?" I said, "I sure did." I didn't say anything else. She said, "You know I'm really sorry that he wasn't able to take home the meal worms over vacation." I said, "That's ok because tomorrow is his last day anyway."
I had her attention.....and so it began....Teacher
: Yeah, we're done. Taking away the meal worms from him was the last straw.Teacher
: But....he was talking in class. He couldn't calm himself down. I had to show him that innapropriate behavior comes with consequences. (or something to that effect)Me
: He was picked out of all the class for a privilage that you took away because of talking.Teacher
: Well, I have to know that he is able to control himself in order to take care of our project.Me
: What does talking have to do with taking care of worms? He has taken care of 2 geckos in his room for over a year. He makes sure they have water, he turns their light on during the day and off at night. He feeds them crickets. He even feeds the crickets that feed the geckos. How does talking deminish his ability to take care of anything? (I was calm though) Teacher
: Well, where is he going to go to school then?Me
: He will be homeschooled.
Somehow, this is where everything turned around. I had her full attention and she did not seemed concerned with the class or the party. She was totally focused on what I was saying. Lemme tell ya, it felt great to be heard!Teacher
: I really hope you reconsider. I would be very sad to lose such a bright boy from my class.
: You know, he's such a smart and loving child.Me
: (thinking duh!) Oh yes, (looking over at him) I believe that too.Teacher
: Is there any way we can talk about this. Can we get a meeting together after the winter break. I really feel like we need to discuss this more to see what we can do.Me
: Well, we've pretty much made up our mind. I don't see a lot of positive reinforcement going on here. I see a lot of negative though and that is not something we practice at home.Teacher
: But when he is in class, it's not like he is being mean to anyone or hurting people. He is just exuberant. (The reason I remember this word was from a previous post....lol)Me
: I agree. He has a lot of energy. However, I don't believe this is the best learning situation for him. He learns through movement and doing things. (I explained about the summers at the beach house) He's not the type of kid who can sit down for long periods of time and be still and quiet. It's just not who he is. I'm sure a lot of other kids can thrive in that situation....and I'm not saying that he sits for a block of 6 hours straight but he tells me he is bored and I know from experience that that is when he makes bad decisions.Teacher
: I don't get that feeling from him at all. He does his projects very well.Me
: I'm sure that is because he is doing hands on things and moving around.
<pause for parent walking up and asking a question. I look up and notice that a lot of eyes are on us.>Me
: I just really feel strongly about the negative things I see. I'm not just pointing the finger at you though. His music teacher calls me almost every week....Teacher
: But I have nothing to do with that.Me
: Oh, I'm not saying you do but it just goes together with the negative feelings I get. Dakota is just constantly bombarded with consequences (their word for a corrective behavior) and things being taken away. I don't see a lot of rewards, just punishments and this affects his self esteem.Teacher
: But he is allowed to work for rewards.Me
: Yes, but you also take them away.Teacher
: No, he gets purple slips for good behavior. I don't take anythig away.Me
: He gets recesses and assemblies taken away, he gets put on a time out wall and you DID take away his meal worm privilage.
: Yes, you're right. I do feel like I made a mistake now. I really would feel terrible if Dakota was taken out. He adds so much to our classroom and I don't get the sense at all that he is unhappy.Me
: You don't see him when he comes home and tells me that he feels stupid. You might not see his self esteem getting shattered. (I almost started bawling!) I really just do not see this as being the best learning environment for him.Teacher
: But we have many people on staff here. We can get with the social worker and we can have a meeting with the child developmental people who can really help us work through this.Me
: (a little irritated but still calm) I wonder why it has to come to me taking him out of school for anyone to do anything.Teacher
: I just didn't know how you felt. I didn't know you were to this point.Me
: I took all the feedback from the school and tried to make changes at home. I talked to him about school rules, I took him to the therapists for behavior modification and I put him on medication. I just don't know what else I can do here. I'm really to the point of exhaustion based on this school's progress reports and phone calls home.Teacher
: Well I know there has to be something we can do. If I need to work harder, I can. Maybe I should have been doing that anyway and I'm sorry for that. I really wish you would reconsider this. I know we can do so much for him here.Me
: I wish something was done sooner. They have been in school for a full 4 months and I just see his behavior and interest to learn declining.
<pause> Another parent.....Teacher
: Let me talk to some people after school today to see what we can do. I really feel awful about this and want to be given a chance to correct the errors I've made.
<loud speaker announcement saying that the busses need to get into the school so the parents need to leave> At this point, I've probably taken up 20 minutes of her time.Me
: I appreciate that but I really feel strongly about my decision. I don't want to take up any more of your time.....(Motioning to the party)Teacher
: Well please think about this. May I call you so we can speak about this some more?Me
.....and that was it. After that, the kids were already starting to clean up and the teacher was saying goodbye to everyone. I felt bad about the other parents who wanted her attention yet I felt very relieved to be able to get all of that off my chest. I'm glad I wrote the note....and I'm glad I didn't present it to her. She seemed sincere and remorseful and for that, I'm happy that I didn't go in there guns-a-blazing with a bad attitude.....
Thanks again for all the advice. I still plan on taking him out of school....but I believe it will be on better terms for all. Thanks for reading, if you got this far!!