I loved school as a kid. I was bright and talented and knew how to find a corner, sit with a book and enjoy the lack of alcoholic rages. What’s not to love?
School is not a refuge for Erik and in a way that is a good thing. I’m glad he has a happy home life and doesn’t feel a sense of relief when school starts in the fall. But why can’t he enjoy learning for the sake of learning? Why must he hate it?
Of course, this is completely teacher dependent. He didn’t hate school last year. He didn’t love it, but he didn’t hate it. Can’t ask for more than that, I guess. His first grade teacher was a true master at manipulating him and managing his behavior. I’ve been manipulating him and managing him for almost 8 years now, but she certainly had a better handle on him than me!
This new teacher doesn’t have that same skill.
I guess that sounds bad, doesn’t it? Manipulating him?
But it’s so true.
He is a highly logical kid with a lot of smarts. I’ve given up trying to be demure about his intelligence. I hate to be a braggy mom who thinks her kid is a special snowflake, but I can no longer deny that this kid is smarter than your average bear. He has no patience with his classmates and does not understand why the teacher would ever ask them for answers when many of them never have a clue what’s going on. He doesn’t understand why the teacher has to sit there and wait for the kids to catch up, when he already knows or quickly understands the materials.
Of course I’m trying to teach him empathy and patience, but he’s 7. He doesn’t have much in the way of either trait.
BellaJellyBean asked me how to handle a child that hates school since she’s afraid her son might go down that path. Her son is so much like Erik that it’s uncanny! I really hope for her sake that he has a better Kindy teacher than Erik had and she won’t deal with what I’ve had to deal with.
In short, kindergarten was a living hell.
There’s no way to sugar coat it. There was no way to manage it. It was just HELL.
In the end I completely gave up on homework because a) I am not a fan of the idea of homework for a child who is not having actual problems and b) I was not going to let a stupid piece of daily busy work that should take five freakin’ minutes destroy our home life.
You may think destroy is too strong a word, but I don’t know what else to call it when you have a child screaming, sobbing, crying, and tantrumming for over an hour. It wasn’t worth it. I talked with the teacher and made several suggestions to improve Erik’s experience based on my years in the classroom, but she shut me down cold on all of them. I was ready to go to the principal, but then she left to have a baby so the last three months of school were much, much better.
My current plan is to let him settle into school for the first couple of weeks and if things aren’t better have a face-to-face with his teacher. She’s brand new to the school and a lot of his problem seems to stem from the fact that she doesn’t know the “proper” procedures. She does not allow them to touch the walls when they are in the hallway and this seems to be reason for a full nuclear meltdown. In Kindy they have to keep a hand on the wall to keep them in line.
If she stonewalls me like his kindergarten teacher I will not hesitate to go to the principal immediately. I can’t deal with another year of hell.
When I picked him up from school on Monday and saw his face I almost started crying. When we got home and he declared that he hated his teacher, he hated all the kids in his class and he hated everything about school it was all I could do not to break into sobs. I know what this means for our family life. I know what this means for my stress levels. I know what this means for our relationship. I don’t want to do this again. I can’t> do this again.
I am also completely stressed out about my role in the PTA and wondering why the fuck I am working my ass off to improve Erik’s school when nothing I do is appreciated by him. I know that makes no sense since he is 7 and it is not his job to appreciate me; it is his job to be a kid. However, with his hatred toward the school I’m ready to pull out and go underground. Nothing I do will make him like school. But logically I know that my best chance to improve things for him is to develop a good relationship with the principal and being a part of the PTA is a part of that plan.
I can’t believe how much bullshit fuckery is going on with this PTA gig and I am seriously about one e-mail away from throwing in the towel and telling them to go fuck themselves. I’ve had a really great response from most of the people, with a lot of people thanking me for bringing new energy to the group. The problem seems to stem from people who are not willing to do any real work, but who want to have power. They can’t have power because of term limits so they want to bully their way in to power. I know I shouldn’t let them get to me. I should follow my own good advice and give them the consideration they deserve–absolutely none. I can tell myself that all day long, but it doesn’t stop me from waking up at night with a pit in my stomach and tears in my eyes. I do not take criticism well.
On a more positive note, all my volunteer work with MOMS Club is paying off. I am the area coordinator for 15 chapters, which can get a little crazy sometimes. I was doing it because I enjoy it (I’ve decided honesty is my new policy and I will admit that I like power and control. There. I said it), but also because I’d like to have something on my resume. The unintended consequence: learning a heck of a lot about small non-profit, volunteer driven organizations. I am becoming a pro at referring to the by-laws and telling people that the purpose of a non-profit is not to provide member only benefits. Even though the PTA and MOMS Club are very different (the MOMS Club leadership team is fantastic to work with! No back biting! No power grabs!), they both have to operate by their by-laws and follow their mission statement.
Segue: do you want to hear my number one pet peeve? People who say they are not informed about things and then refuse to read any materials that might actually inform them! How am I supposed to inform them? Go to their house and put on a freakin’ one woman play? I don’t have the budget for that.
I really, really hope next week gets better. If it doesn’t, I may need to arrange for a couple of weeks away in a padded room.