Friday, April 9, 2010

The Toughest Job I Will Ever Do

I know I've said it before but I just can't get past how really tough this job is.  I'm talking about parenting, of course.  One minute I want to tear my hair out because I think I just possibly deal with any more their stunts and the next minute my stomach feels sick as I read my oldest report card.

Yes, report card.  The *cough* wonderful new school we have her enrolled in has told us for the past two months that they don't have her report card from the old school  With Spring Break and holidays etc have now gone by I got on the phone to the old school.  They assured me that they had mailed her documents out February 1st, including the report card and by the way why was I the parent calling? According to her, I shouldn't have to be the one to track it down.  I didn't think so either.  Within a half hour, I had a call from the new school and sure enough they had it.  It was filed away.

So the next morning we got to meet with her teachers, all four of them, and tell them about the report card.  The secretary hadn't even bothered to tell them what she had found.  At least they were gracious enough to admit that they thought it was downright embarrassing that this had happened.

In the meantime, I felt sick after having read her report card.  E had gone backwards in many of her problem areas and here we were completely unaware for the past two months where things stood with her.  Add to that they we had asked over a month ago for a meeting with her teacher to discuss how her progress was going in the new school, especially since we had no report card only for it to take a reminder on our part for it to finally happen.  We got the... "these things take time you know."  It makes me feel even more guilty about not trying harder to work with her on her reading and math. Not that I hadn't tried at all, but the few times I did I met with such resistance from E that I gave up.  Patience is not my strongest suit and there is no way I can try and help a grumpy E and maintain my cool at the same time.

Imagine to my surprise when we met with not only her morning teacher and afternoon teacher but a speech teacher and a phonics teacher.  While we were aware that she was getting extra help with her speech because she abuses her pronouns and tenses dreadfully, we were not aware that she was seeing a phonics teacher.   Not that I am complaining about the extra help, it's just nice to be informed.  I should clarify E can speak just fine, it's just how she puts her sentences together that's the problem.

They did not have one positive thing to say about E except that perhaps she is transitioning better than before and not arguing as much.  That they were almost glad there was an incident wherein E was upset about something that happened with the other kids because it showed that she actually was interested in playing with the other kids.  Are you kidding me?  Of course, she wants to play with the other kids.  It just doesn't help that the little girl who was ecstatic to meet her dropped her after two weeks since E was no longer "new".  Girl thy name is fickle.  Add to that there are only 10 kids in the afternoon class and half are boys.  Not exactly a large pool to make friends from.

Then they oh so casually brought up that there was a problem with the afternoon kids with little "clicks" being formed, primarily among the girls.  Well no kidding.  No wonder E has been having a hard time. She goes out to play and they are all gone even though they say they will play with her.  Now this doesn't happen every day but I know it's happened often.  Apparently the teachers are aware of the problem but not once has any of them discussed it with me.

I know every child is not a little angel no matter how much his or her parents may think they are and I am sure that teachers are often driven to distraction by particular kids.  I know that my E can be one of those kids.    In Kindergarten, she didn't transition well and would have a downright fit on the teacher and yet THAT teacher while conveying to me that she was at first thrown for a loop with E still managed to let me know how bright or interesting she found E in other ways.  So while I heard the bad, which I knew already because I am not a rose coloured glasses kind of parent, I still got to hear the positive. It was a complete delight to hear from her grade one teacher that E was one of the quietest children in the class and has the heart of a scientist. She had settled into grade one without a hitch.  At this school, the best they could come up with was "she loves to talk".  Was that a compliment or a complaint?  I'm not sure which.

I know many of you out there have children with special learning needs and may have to meet with whole teams of people to advocate for your children's education.  I just didn't know how that would feel to be in that position.  All I can say is it's tough.  It's tough knowing that your child is struggling.  It's tough knowing that her teacher is often cranky with the kids.  It's tough knowing that E spent her lunch hour crying cause the kids all ran away from her.  It's tough knowing that yes I can show her my love and support but I just can't make it easier for her.

It's also tough knowing I will probably have to constantly explain my child's personality to strangers so they will attempt to understand her a little better and not mislabel her.  E may always be creative and not an academic but then again, who knows.  It makes me wonder how often I have mislabeled her.  E is difficult, E is passionate, E is ..... just E.

I guess all I can say is that I am glad that there are very many more months to this school year and that I sincerely hope her grade 2 teacher is a little more approachable.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.

2 comments:

  1. My heart hurts for you. I know this can't be easy. Just the thought of her sitting at lunch, crying because the other kids weren't there to play with her, made me sad as well.

    I do hope things get easier as the school year continues. This is definitely one of the hardest parts of parenting.

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  2. I would have to agree that this job is so much harder than I ever imagined. For some reason I thought that it was all good times and roses. Hang in there.... I am sure she will come through this experience and many others just fine. It just breaks my heart to watch it.

    I have one daughter who is bipolar and she struggles with other kids. She wants friends but she is just so socially off all of the time. My middle daughter has mild CP so she is mainstreamed in school. She cannot physically keep up with the other kids so no one wants to play with her on the playground. They are both such great kids and many people only see where they fall short. It is frustrating.

    In their school I have become THAT parent. You know... the one that they see coming in the door and they all scatter. It is hard, heart breaking but remember you are the only advocate E truly has. A lot of stress I know but it is our JOB to get them to be productive adults. Let me know if you need "help" in any way.

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