Saturday, November 20, 2010

Put A Fork In It

Yesterday Kid's teacher shamed her during her spelling test.

She said something to the effect of...

"You have to start doing your tests faster. In the older grades, if you aren't done on time, they mark all of your answers wrong."

Um... okay.

Number one, I've gone through quite a bit of schooling myself and have never found that to be true.

Number two, SHE HAS TEST ANXIETY, and I'm pretty sure that didn't help.

Thanks for making this an even bigger issue.

So it came as no surprise that in the end she got 30% wrong because she was so nervous.

She messed up words she knew with 100% confidence at home.

This is just not the right teacher, not the right setting, and not the right curriculum for her.

Despite the teacher making comments all year to her, do you think she has ever once contacted us to talk about Kid's timing issues?


She picks her apart in the classroom without doing anything to help her succeed.

The fact that, unlike all of the other kids in the class, Kid has never taken a test, nor needed to spell correctly before this year has never been considered. Frankly, she is doing pretty well considering the drastic change in curriculum.

I have gone in after school FOUR TIMES this month asking for her to please send Kid's desk work home at night so we could get it done, instead of letting it pile up and overwhelm her.

Has she?


When I was in the classroom two weeks ago, the teacher actually said to the kids "You know what to do... multitask."


No wonder Kid is having a hard to time getting her desk work done.

This is second grade.

But like I said, despite going in and asking her to send work home because falling behind was stressing Kid out, to which she responded "Oh yeah, she does seem to get worried."***, I'd like to point out that the teacher HAS NEVER once contacted us to say Kid has difficulty completing her work. All of the work that comes home has stickers and smile faces. The only reason I know about it is because the pile of unfinished work makes Kid so upset she tells me about it.

Conferences are on Monday. How much do you want to bet she doesn't mention anything about Kid's difficulties?

*** which is a serious problem in and of itself, since I told her that Kid has an anxiety disorder BEFORE school even started.



Torey said...

This breaks my heart for you and Kid. I hope you are able to find the *right* place for Kid soon!

Marie said...

Have you gone to the principal? At this point it sounds like a dead end with the teacher. Perhaps they would let her switch to a different classroom? Maybe another teacher with a slightly different persepective? Sometimes if your set in your ways thats it and there's no changing it.. but perhaps a different teacher would be able to better work with kid within the confides of a score-driven school...

or just say screw it and grab a winnebago and head off to the warm south for the winter... :)

Gigs said...

WTF! What is her teacher's problem? I'm so mad for you, because we've been there. I know I keep saying how I love my guy's teachers this year, but I have to share with you that I had a report conference on Thursday - we did not even talk about his report card, just his other issues, and as we were finishing up we were both crying because of how we care for him and want him to feel successful. She told me he was lucky I was his mom. I told her he was lucky she was his teacher. We hugged at the end. I'm tearing up even now, just thinking about it. Kid needs someone like her. And her current teacher needs a serious slap.

G in Berlin said...

Just change classes. It should take about one hour of serious discussion with the principal. I did it two years ago (before changing school last year- and for totally different reasons).Don't stay with a bad teacher unless you already know the other options are worse. That took me until graduate school to learn, so I am happy to let my kids get the advantage through my hard won knowledge.

trifitmom said...

do you realize i have anxiety just reading this.....

you need to immediately go to the principal - this is unacceptable. I am sorry you have to deal with this at all. kid should feel safe in the classroom.

The other day my girl went to the library for rid to a therapy dog, she was so nervous/worried b/c she doesn't read yet. so i have her a book that is very basic that she could read. the librarian said to her, oh you could read a better book than that. she told me this later and was so upset ????? I was fuming. how could someone who works with kids as an educator be so clueless ???

good luck at the conference. what is the plan ???

Mrs Furious said...


"What is the plan?"

Kid asked me why I don't tell her teacher that I hate her. I said I wasn't going to do that. She said "What if she doesn't think you are right?" And I said "Oh, I know she doesn't think I'm right. But, what she doesn't know is that I am always right." Kid cracked up.
I don't know my plan yet. I'm nervous.

Mrs Furious said...

I should say my plan is to try not to cry during the conference... I have anger induced crying disorder.. so... that can happen.

I'm listening to THIS right now about anxiety disorders. Pretty good info.

trifitmom said...

i balled my eyes out in front of the entire child study team. it is your child, it is hard not to.

so funny - all my daughter does is say she hates people who don't understand her. she wants me to beat them up or for her little sis to bite them.

Julie said...

I am astonished at what a clueless teacher Kid has.

Kid asked me why I don't tell her teacher that I hate her. I said I wasn't going to do that. She said "What if she doesn't think you are right?" And I said "Oh, I know she doesn't think I'm right. But, what she doesn't know is that I am always right." Kid cracked up. I love all of that!!

I just can't believe what an idiot this teacher is. What a comment to say to a child who is clearly struggling with the spelling tests?! What did she think her comment would 'scare' Kid into moving faster on her quiz?! WTF? If anything, it would paralyze a person who has anxiety.

If you cry at the meeting, so what. Kid is your child and it is all such an emotional thing.

The teacher may not be a bad teacher, but she is a bad fit for Kid. And boy, does that make all the difference in the world to how your child does in school when you have a child who may not be completely neuro-typical (not saying Kid is, but Murphy is for sure.)

The teacher should be more concerned with how the kids are feeling about school in general than how fast they go on a spelling quiz. These beginning years are so important. They set the foundation to all the many years of learning to come.

Gigs, awesome on your conference.
Trifitmom, been there, done that on the crying.

I know you may not be staying in the public school system there, but I know in our school, there are certain kids (like mine) who get placed with the right fit of a teacher. Most kids go where ever they place them. Perhaps your school would do that in the future. Have you considered having Kid evaluated in any way? She may need to be on an IEP or get a 504 for accomodations like with the test anxiety--giving her extra time.

We will be thinking of you and sending you strength for the conference. Don't hold back and don't worry if you get emotional. She's your kid.

Julie said...

apparently I believed what I had to say was worthy of a second reading;)

Julie said...

omg, i didn't realize it printed out 3 times. weird.

Mrs Furious said...

I got it cleaned up... no problem.

re:evaluation... yes I think if we want to proceed in the ps that is what will be necessary. I was just talking to my mom about that. Things are so different in ps since we all went... you need an IEP in order to get any kind of different treatment. Teachers are not/can not take that action themselves. I'm hoping after meeting with my therapist in 2 weeks, I'll get a referral for Kid to see a psych here and get evaluated and possibly medicated. All that would need to be in place before I'm going to get any help in the school. But, honestly, I just don't see this system working for her, period. I am very interested to see what the teacher says on her own. If she herself will suggest that Kid would benefit from an IEP. My guess is not. I think Kid passes her expectations and that she isn't going to see a problem other than Kid needing to buckle down and work faster. I know she will do some much better in the Waldorf school. It is just a better social,emotional, and intellectual fit for her. Even if I can buy her some more time in the ps with tests and whatnot... I can't change the curriculum. And I'm just so disappointed in it. We just need to find the money...

Mrs Furious said...

Ooh of particular interest in that epsiode of Diane Rehm is this call in from a parent...

My family and I -- my wife and I and my son -- youngest son, who was 13 at the time, last year we spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with anxiety disorder with him and panic attacks, and what I want to bring up is the inability of the school systems to be able to handle this. You know, they handle special education children. But when it comes to this, they kind of write it off as -- you know, well, just suck it up, and he'll get better. So we dealt with it for the whole school year -- his whole seventh grade -- and finally got to the end of the year with a lot of therapy and medical treatment.

And, yes, I think that is exactly what we're coming up against.

moley said...

Poor Kid! What a horrible situation for you all.

Hetty also suffers from major anxiety and worry and this book has been really helpful for her:

The other thing that as really helped is bach flower rescue remedy. It was recommended on one of the home school forums for anxious kids and although I have to say I was extremely skeptical I eventually thought what the hell! it may work as a placebo if nothing else, but I really didn't have high hopes. I was just getting desperate to help her, she was getting that bad.

I can honestly say that it has been nothing short of miraculous! She is a different child. Don't get me wrong I think she'll always be a bit of a worrier but it just seems to have helped her get on top of it and manage better.

Anyway, I hope you can work something out for her.

Julie said...

you need an IEP in order to get any kind of different treatment. Teachers are not/can not take that action themselves. Yeah, even then you may not get any extra help. Murphy has and IEP, but does not receive any services. I don't understand it. His teacher last year was amazing. She had a background in Special Ed and did make all sorts of 'behind the scenes' accomodations for murphy. The teacher this year is more old school. Not sure what she is seeing. We meet in a few weeks. I also just dropped off a really intense evaluation form for her to fill out. She may not 'see' Murphy's problems with memory and executive functioning, etc. He gets A's on everything, he is an above grade level reader and math so the special ed people are not interested in anything else really. I've been told just wait until he bombs one of the state tests...then they will jump.

I wasn't even meaning getting Kid evaluated psychologically...I mean learning wise. Clearly she is a smart kid, but she may have a learning disorder. Murphy is on an IEP because he is so fucking 'intriguing' on all of the evaluations. He is always right with his answers, but they are never the "right" answers.

If you can swing the Waldorf school, do it. I really wish that we could do something different for Murphy. He would benefit from a different type of education...something more engaging and interesting than the normal public school offerings. We do have some excellent charter schools our way.

Again, it comes down to the teacher and the whole atmosphere of the school. We're fortunate to have a really child-centered elementary school (and an unbelievably AWESOME middle school) due to the priorities of the principal and those in charge in our district. It's not like this even in towns next door. It is the main reason why I don't pack up my family move to Vermont. But I think there are going to be some changes in how things are handled with Murphy going forward--there have been changes in leadership and more than once his Occupational Therapist (who doesn't actually give him services anymore...just goes in and checks on him once a is that helping??) has told me to remember 'all of the things Murphy has going for him" and "I know it must be hard because you are so outgoing' when I have talked to her about how he sits by himself at recess and doesn't interact with other children because he doesn't care to. She says it to me like I am just concerned he is not popular or something. I'm thinking more about his asperger type characteristics. She makes me feel like I am looking for problems sometimes.

I better sign off here before I write another i am kind of writing stream of consciousness style and don't feel like re-reading what I wrote so it may not make sense.

Mrs Furious said...

We'll see what the teacher says (again shocked if she says anything) but I'm pretty sure Kid doesn't have a learning disability, just anxiety issues. I don't think anything about Kid is a red flag to anyone there. She's doing fine, and that is all they care about. There are kids with more severe problems and Kid isn't disrupting the flow enough to get much notice. Clearly her teacher doesn't care and would rather not be inconvenienced to send work home even if it's causing a child stress. Kid is a classic perfectionist, I highly doubt this is the first child in her 25 year career she has come across with these symptoms... but what does she do?... tell a perfectionist that if she isn't perfect she'll get everything wrong. Awesome. Then what did Kid do?... totally flop her test. Of fucking course. I just think this woman is clueless to the emotional welfare of the kids. And the horrible thing, is that next year Kid has to switch schools due to the crazy 2 grades per school thing and then switch AGAIN every two years after that. I just think with Kid that is going to be too many transitions. At the Waldorf school you have one teacher and the same class straight through 8th. That will make a world of difference. She didn't have these issues last year. I hated her teacher then too... but Kid was happy. I can't even get behind the curriculum... even if she did get out of timed tests, etc... that isn't going to change.

Mrs Furious said...

I really believe that all they are doing is teaching them how to take next years MEAP test (state test). The timed tests, the multiple choice worksheets, etc. In the end it didn't matter if they knew the 40 words... it matter that they were done on time. It's just a sickening waste of time imo.

Christy said...

I haven't posted here in forever, but your comment above this, is your welcome to the current public education system, no matter the state. Our principal says it's all due to NCLB. But it's all about these standardized tests.

Julie said...

word to both mrs and christy about the standardized state tests.

Mrs Furious said...

Oh Christy... I've missed your eye :)

Yeah, I think that is the drill. And lord help me when it she actually has to take the damn tests!!!!

Gigs said...

Yeah, even then you may not get any extra help. Murphy has and IEP, but does not receive any services. I don't understand it.

Word, Julie. We don't get services either.

Mrs. F. - I'd say don't worry about crying at the conference. Nothing wrong with conveying that you are a caring, concerned parent. Maybe teachers get jaded because they don't see enough of that.

Rob said...

The teacher's comment is so NOT TRUE. One of the problems we had with my son was getting him to slow down and focus on the questions.

I agree about going to the principal - even if you are taking kid out I would go talk to the principal because that teacher needs some serious counseling on how to interact with her students.

Deb said...

Can I come? I should be PMSing right about that time, so a good verbal smacking around of a complete stranger might be all I need to set my mood right.

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