Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Tears of A Clown

I guess that clown would be me except I’m scared shitless of clowns. The fear stems from “Poltergeist” the movie. Ruined clowns for me forever, but I digress. Still the title fits my mood.

Okay, maybe “The Tracks of My Tears” would be better.

I had my parent-teacher conference with The Negotiator’s teacher today. Papa couldn’t make it so I met him for lunch right after and boo-hooed so much through the meal he went back to work, wrapped up and came home. It seems our boy is falling through the cracks. He’s not Talented & Gifted which neither of us could give a flying fandango about and he’s not low performing so he’s just expected to keep up. The problem is there is no problem. He’s not a discipline issue. He’s quiet and sweet and empathetic, but he works too slow. How is that remedied in the classroom? If his work isn’t complete he loses recess and gets a warning. A warning about what? To stay on task. And how does that warning help him other than to crush his spirit and tatter his self esteem? It’s just a reminder to keep up, I'm told.

Bottom line? He’s falling behind and if he doesn’t learn to work faster third grade is going to devour him. Third grade?! Why aren’t we just getting what we need out of second grade? It seems his handwriting is bad and he won’t be able to learn cursive if it doesn’t improve.

He doesn’t complete his worksheets so he doesn’t get free time. He’s one of the last ones sitting at his desk. When he doesn’t finish his work he has to take it home to do at night. I asked him why he doesn’t finish and he says he doesn’t understand and he doesn’t want to disturb the teacher to ask for help. I also found out he *finally* got to try a computer site he’s been waiting to have a turn at and he didn’t know how to log on so he just sat there for his whole 15 minute turn. Again, why don’t you ask for help? He tells me he raised his hand, but the teacher didn’t see him. He’s so timid about asking for anything. No matter how much we assure him that asking is a good thing he won’t ask. I think he fears the rejection. When he was in Kindergarten and 1st he was terrified to ask the teacher if he could go to the bathroom. Papa had to go school a couple of times to make sure that The Negotiator was sure about the routine. He finally got it after 4 weeks, but he would still hold IT if there was any break in the routine.

I don’t blame the teacher. She has several rambunctious kids she is dealing with so she’s doing the best she can with what she’s got. She says she loves The Negotiator, but she hasn’t found a way to get through to him. Join the club. He just doesn’t learn the same way the other kids do. He takes longer to process, but when he does get it he GETS it. The teacher just can’t wait for him. Damn. Add to that the more they push the more he withdraws. It’s a vicious circle.

You’ll be proud to know that I didn’t actually cry in front of the teacher. I managed to keep my dignity together long enough to cry my eyes out at lunch with Papa and this afternoon with a friend. I’m looking into my options, but I think I know where I am headed.

Thanks for letting me cry this out again. There is nothing worse than feeling like your child is struggling and not in a good, he’s-growing-from-the-challenge sort of way.


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