Noah’s teacher and two of the teachers he has for special areas and I had a brief meeting today. I wish he had one of the other two teachers as his main teacher. The other two are young, fresh out of school and very enthusiastic. Noah’s teacher is umm, stern and unyielding. This is the first time we’ve had an elementary teacher who was too busy to offer after school help to students.
We believe that school and home are connected and every day each of our children are asked several questions when they walk in the front door. “Do you have homework? Any notes or papers to show me? What topics are you studying this week? Did you get in any trouble today?” Noah honestly offers up what he lost behavior points for every day even though he knows there will be consequences at home. Sometimes I feel like a terrible hypocrite punishing him for things like reading or drawing. I WANT him to love reading and expressing himself creatively. Noah hates writing. He has hated it since his nasty kindergarten teacher forced him to use his right hand for half the year despite my request that he be allowed to use his left hand. He looks like he’s in physical and mental pain when he writes and the eraser holes in his paper confirm it. I would generously guess that at least 95% of the work at school is writing and worksheets. Noah has an assignment book that must be signed daily. We’ve driven back up there half a dozen times to retrieve the book and every time, unknown to us, Noah has lost points for entering the classroom after dismissal. “So, if we get his assignment book so it can be signed and his homework done, he loses points but if we don’t go back to school and he has no notebook or homework he loses points?” “Yes, that’s right.” Noah’s math workbook is missing. “Can we see about replacing it or finding it?” “That’s Noah’s problem. He needs to find it himself.” I expressed my concern over Noah’s work habits and behavior grades and the teacher implied that I would be happy if I saw that most of the students are having the same number of infractions. “This is how we get them ready for middle school.” What?!?
I have asked Noah if he would like to stay home this year. He would have very little writing and sitting still but lots of hands-on activities and physical learning. As intriguing as that was to him, he still wants to stay in school because “I want to be a safety cause the safeties get to go to D.C.” I told his teacher this story. “Well, if that’s the only reason he’s here, he may as well stay home.” In my mind, the teacher just said she’s already decided not to allow Noah to be a safety but she’s certainly not being honest by letting him believe that it’s a possibility. I feel like Noah is a sweet, compassionate, funny, smart and helpful little boy who the school considers a behavior problem. He is punished for his personality and learning style. He is certainly not living up to his potential. Listen to my head or listen to my heart?