Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Watch out! They've woken the bear...

...momma bear has been woken from her winter's sleep. Be warned, I'm going to rant about Patrick and Damon's teachers now. I'm about ready to homeschool!

This morning I sent Damon to school and I KNOW that he wore an orange hat. I know this because I made sure he had a hat, and I made sure he put it on (partly because his hair was standing up and I told him it would help it lie down). When I picked him up, his teacher was at the door and said she needed to speak with me.

Teacher: "From now on, can you please send Damon with attire appropriate to the weather. Today was very cold and he had no hat, mitts or scarf in his bag and we went outside this afternoon and he was like this." (she points to him with no hat, just a hood, but strangely he had his orange mitts.)

Me: "He has mitts on, and I sent him with a hat, a matching orange hat. Damon, where is your hat?" (Damon is speechless, looking like a deer caught in headlights)

Teacher: "Well from now on, can you make sure he has a hat, mitts and a scarf?"

Me: "He DID have a HAT and he HAS MITTS. He had an ORANGE hat. I know he had it on, I MADE him put it on. If he doesn't have it now, he lost it in your classroom, it's orange, it's a hat."

Teacher: "Oh well, we didn't see it. Maybe we can check again tomorrow."


So we all go home, and I am rattled, so I try to get the boys working on their homework. Damon starts crying about what a bad day he has had, and how he doesn't feel good and how he just wants a nap. I felt his head and he was burning up. His temperature was 104.5. And the teacher wanted to argue about his HAT? He was so afraid of her being upset about him not having his hat that he didn't tell her that he was sick and wanted to come home. So I wrote a nice note to her in his agenda. "Dear Madame, When Damon arrived home tonight, I discovered that he had a very high fever that was not noticed at school today. In the future, I will be sending a sealed bag with an extra hat and mitts in it "just in case". I will not, however, be sending Damon to school with a scarf. I happen to believe that scarves are a strangulation hazard for young children in an improperly supervised playground. Sincerely," Signed by me. All of this after the big commotion that she caused about his shoes! He didn't want to leave his shoes at school and was keeping them in his bag. So she asked me if I would give him permission to leave them at school. I told her that was fine with me, if it was okay with HIM. geesh. The kid is protective of his shoes, and as long as he doesn't forget to bring them to school why does she care? Anyway.

Then I go to read Patrick's agenda and my stomach drops to the floor. There is a note in it from the teacher. She is really young, and I always feel like the tone of her notes is like a big sister tattling. "mommmmmmmmm, patrick won't do this, mommmmm patrick said this." "Dear Mrs., Could you please check that Patrick's homework has been completed every night? When he has been away, his homework has been incomplete. This happens often." Ummmm yeah? He was away Monday, today is Tuesday. I kind of expected that his homework might be incomplete. But WHAT homework? I have repeatedly written this teacher notes telling her that I am HAPPY to supervise Patrick's homework, but I need her to make sure that it is written in his agenda, or I can't know what I am checking! At the beginning of the year, she told me that Patrick was having trouble completing his homework, but when I asked her what he didn't complete, she said, oh I can't remember. Several times, she has accused him of not completing his homework, and claimed that she gave him several reminders. I checked the agenda from front to back, and NO mention was made of that particular homework. Anywhere. So how is it his fault (or mine) if she doesn't assign it to him!!!!!!!!! I wrote her a letter too, It is too long to repeat here. It could be read as nasty, or not. Anyhow, my routine with him is to read his agenda, ask him if he has completed the homework, I read the list. Usually he has asked me to help him with the homework, so I usually know that it has been finished, but occasionally, I will take his word for it. I take his word for it on purpose, because I believe that at his age, he needs to start to take responsibility for his own schoolwork and to face the consequences if he doesn't do it. I am here to remind him and to help him, but not to do it for him. I also let her know that I feel that her expectations of him catching up after he has been sick (and he's been sick a lot this year) are unreasonable, especially since when he comes back he is usually not 100% better yet.

She is so hard on him. He does really really well on his tests this year, but his handwriting is still kind of sloppy and she puts a lot of emphasis on marking their homework and he loses a lot of marks for neatness and not writing out his answers. I understand the argument about good study habits, but it is ridiculous. Another thing, is that I find that she is an alarmist. She CALLED me once to let me know that he "didn't do very well at all" on his test. I am thinking he failed it, or just passed. No, he got a 74%. WTF? I think I'm willing to live with that one. GEESH, leave us alone lady!

I just want to pull them both out and keep them home until September. Matt has been bouncing around the idea of sending them to the private school, but I was resistant because we love the kids and parents (and most of the teachers) at that school. But the private school is sounding kind of tempting right now. Hopefully with that tuition money, they can hire teachers who are capable of spotting brightly coloured hats on their classroom floors, or can remember that before they can call homework incomplete, they need to ASSIGN it first. :-D I think that tomorrow I might call up one of the other teachers (one of the kid-friendly ones, not the narly nasty ones) for a shoulder to cry on.


Kristen said...

yeah well unfortunately the teachers at a private school arent neccessarily better either... Your post isnt making me look forward to sending abby to school! BLAH!


What grade is Patrick in again? Kelsey is in 4th (4/5 combo class) and is required to write her own homework in her own agenda - the teacher doesn't do it. The teacher also doesn't send home notes, or call, if she doesn't turn in homework or doesn't do well on a test. I'm sure she would if it were consistent though. The problem I have with Kelsey's teacher is I think she is expecting 5th grade level from her when is is only 4th grade. There are only 5 4th graders in a class of 34!

Wonder what the great teacher will say to the fever versus hat letter you sent! What a moron.... and I hope she feels like an ass when she finds the hat in her classroom - admist all that other orange she must have in there that she couldn't spot it before.

But like Kristen said, every school, public or private, will have their bad apples amongst the teachers. Thankfully the students don't keep the same teachers year to year, and you can talk to the staff and let them know that there are personality conflicts and you prefer your other children not end up in her class - at least we can do that here. Haven't had to yet, thank goodness. Well at least not because of a teacher. Did it with another student and it worked.

Girl in Progress said...

Awww, the joys of school. Sometimes I with the amount of homework they have, I think I'm in 5th grade again. Then, we are also suppose to be mind readers, and instantly know when assignments are given and when they are due.

I think homework should be banned but that is another subject all together. Maybe I'll blog it someday..LOL I think the kids should be responsible but sometimes some reminders and commonsense is needed.

As for the hat, I was LOL at your replying..she still prolly didn't get it though. Um, hello, how can you not notice a kid coming in with an ORANGE hat on..then turn around and lecture the parents on sending them in with hats. Yes, there are many kids, yes they are busy, but an orange hat? And I'm sure you send him with it on often, so just out of no where your aren't anymore, and she has to be an so confrontational. We have had a teacher like that, and the alarmist kind as well. I myself too have seriously considered homeschooling as an option, hell, they could do alot more exploration and hands on stuff, plus I'm doing so much work with them at home, I might as well be the teacher. Just think, you would could set their schedule and have no problems when you have to take off for hockey..LOL

Oh, and I am scared of scarves too, I have been sending Jake lately because it has been so bad, but your post reminded me to find a cook face mask or one of those things that go over their head and around their face. A few years ago, you couldn't even find scarves around here when a girl got strangled by one.

Keep up your lion roaring..

Girl in Progress said...

Oh wait, I'm the lion, your the bear..oops.. GRRRR lol