Thursday, April 06, 2006

My sweet lovely Erin made the Honor Roll. This is not the cause for my current frustration, but her report card was. She and I looked over her report card together and I read what the teacher wrote in the notes. It's the usual not paying attention, talking in class, and not handing things in on time. I discussed each thing with her and talked about how she could improve. I told her how proud I was that she made the Honor Roll and what wonderful effort she was making. I have seen the improvement myself. When we discussed her talking in class she was very open with me about her talking and those around her talking and the distractions that exist. She told me that her group was really mean to her and said things like “you were born in a garbage can because no one wanted you." I told her that when they say these things she should let the teacher know right away rather than saying anything back to them. She then told me that it didn't matter because she is no longer in that group. When I asked her what group she was in she said group 5 and 1/2. I asked her who was in the group with her and she said, just me and I like it that way. I almost heard my heart break. No one likes the thought of their child not being part of the group and it's especially difficult knowing that it makes her even more of a target. I asked her if the other kids said anything about her being in a group alone and she said sometimes. I'm disappointed that the teacher hasn't done more to keep me informed about what is going on the classroom. I e-mail her frequently for updates and she says the same old things about Erin not being focused and too much talking. She hasn't mentioned anything about kids picking on Erin or Erin being moved to a group by her. Erin says that she has told the teacher about the mean things kids have said several times and the teacher just says to ignore it. Has that ever worked for anyone?
I'm frustrated that school does not have a level playing field. Public school is for students who work efficiently without distraction. There seems to be no room for a child who has some difficulty focusing. I'm frustrated that a teacher would separate a child who already has a low self esteem.
I really feel like Erin has been labeled the "bad" kid by one of the teachers there. Her teacher last year was very upfront with me about the things she had been told about Erin from her previous teacher. She also told me that she preferred not to base her judgments about children on what she hears. Last year was the best year Erin has had at this school. She was on the Honor Roll each semester. Her peer group supported her in her efforts to focus in class, and she felt so good about herself. This year it seems like any progress that was made has disappeared. I'm not blind. I know that Erin struggles to focus. I know that she talks in class. I know that she can be a handful and that in a class of 24 students it must be overwhelming. I have also seen the other kids and overheard them saying things that they shouldn't. I have been there when they have said mean things to her. I think it's too easy to point the finger at Erin when something happens because she has been on the wrong side of things in the past.
I haven't e-mailed the teacher yet, but I will tonight.


aola said...

That is so hard, my heart breaks for both of you.
Kids is public school are so cruel, I'm not sure how anyone survives it?
I know that my Sethy would really struggle in a public school setting but at home where I can give him my full attention he does good work.
Charlie had the same trouble in school. He just couldn't shut up. I asked him why one day and he told me "Mom, I was born to talk."
He was such a smart little boy but by high school was labeled stupid and put in the slow classes.

Kristen said...

This frustrates me so much. I don't even know Erin, but I can hear how your heart hurts for her. Just keep pouring all the love you can in to her, my friend.

R said...

My heart hurts for you both.