Thursday, July 23, 2009

Punkin' it Kindergarten Style

Three days into kindergarten, I get an email from the teacher. It wasn't one of those, "He's doing great, stop stressing out" type of emails. It was a "we need to talk in person" type of emails. Oh yes, teachers use email now. Gone are the days when teachers would send notes home with the students only to be disposed of by the students or forged by friends with more adult like handwriting.

Let me explain for everyone what Kindergarten is like today. It's not about sitting on the floor singing about colors and playing with playdough. The kids have homework every night!!! This translates into, Grant and I have homework EVERY NIGHT!!! Damn! We couldn't even finish our own homework when we were in school and now we are expected to produce homework via Quinn. Do these teachers know who they are working with? So the kids are expected to be reading and writing by the time they finish Kinder. I fully expect Quinn to balance my checkbook, pay the bills, and put together my grocery list with all the homework we have to do together.

So back to the email....
Hi Bonnie and Grant,I was hoping that we can all meet some time soon so that you can provide me with the best information and strategies that you use with Quinn at home. Quinn has struggled in class with today being his most difficult day. I would like to discuss some of his behaviors so that you know some of his challenges at school and can possibly give me some input on what works best for Quinn. He is a sweet little boy. Please email me and let me know if we can meet after 3 pm any day this week. Thank you.

Ms. B


If you know me, I tend to read between the lines when I get messages from people. This is what I heard..

Your kid is being a punk at school. Do you discipline him at home, because he sure doesn't act like it? Is there anything you do to make him stop being a punk? Please meet with me right away before he punks the wrong kid in class and gets his ass beat down on the playground. Oh and I added that he's a sweet boy because he is good looking and all.

Your Diligent Teacher


So yesterday we go to meet Quinn's teacher and her sister to discuss his behaviors. Let me explain what Quinn's teacher is like. She very thin, tan skinned, strikingly beautiful, Indian woman, with a mild manner. Her beauty is matched by no one other than her twin sister who teaches the morning kindergarten class and co-teaches with Ms. B. They could be super models..honestly. Ms. B is very serious and direct. When I speak with her I feel like a big, dorky, goofy, Anglo woman. I mean I am a big, dorky, goofy, Anglo woman...but it's amplified in her presence.

We met with the special education teacher, Ms. B, and her supermodel, identical, sister. We discussed the lack of ongoing accomodations for Quinn in the classroom and how he is mentally checked out in the classroom. He spends most of his day laying under the table and not participating in class. Listening to them discuss his behaviors made me slowly float out of my body and go to this protective place. This is MY BABY they are talking about and he's PERFECT in my eyes. Why doesn't Ms. B or Supermodel understand this? Don't supermodel teachers understand that Quinn is exceptional? Oh wait... back to reality. My lip quivvered and my eyes welled up with tears. I sucked back my breath, swallowed the knot in my throat as I heard Supermodel say, "he's really not getting much out of class with his behavior like this. He needs more help."

After a while, the special ed teacher left and Ms. B transformed into something different. Her voice became serious and direct like a hot knife in butter. She said, "Now that the special ed teacher is gone, I'm going to suggest "off the record" that you as parents request a full time aid for Quinn in in the classroom." She went on to say that other students with his challenges in the past really benefitted from this and she was surprised that Quinn didn't already have this accomodation in place. She also said that the school district doesn't like to offer this because it's expensive and they don't want to pay for it so they will try to offer us other things first. She went on to say she has tried the other techniques already and they are not working. She feels this would be the most helpful for Quinn. The only problem is that Ms. B was not supposed to share this information with us. She gave us a sharpened spear to use in our battle with the IEP lords.

My heart suddenly grew two extra spots for the supermodels. They may rub off as being serious and direct, but they care about their students and want what's best for my Quinn.

And the quest for more services continues.....


Helene said...

Wow, I don't know what to say. My first thought when reading her letter to you was "geez, she couldn't started the letter out with "Quinn is a sweet boy" rather than putting that at the end!!". She does sound very direct and as if she doesn't sugarcoat anything, which may be a good thing. I'm glad she's getting the school year off to a good start, rather than letting things fester and bringing up to you mid-year. Still, I know it can't be easy to sit there as she's making suggestions for what may help him.

I'm glad she gave you the tip on the aide...that's such a great idea!! Quinn is not a punk!!! It may just take her awhile to figure out what clicks with him and ways to get him more interested in what the class is doing.

Man, you are scaring me about the homework crap. Is this what I have to look forward to this year?

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Just wait till 2nd grade! My kid is doing stuff I learned in high school.

I hope the aid thing works out. Maybe she can help with the homework too! :) Hang in there!