Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chill out. I got this.

Just. one. year.

Heck, i'll even bend farther than that. Just one SEMESTER.

Without an incident, involving one or both of my children and any ONE of the school faculty. Seriously. Please.

I don't have bad children. I, in fact, have the type of children that hold doors open for others, use their manners, and at the dinner table throw people i don't even know into grace. "God, please give the lady at audubon her job back." Those are my kids. They study hard. Yes, it's a never ending struggle to get homework done here, but i know plenty of other mothers in my circle that go through the same thing. every night.

I don't mind. It's my job. A job i wouldn't trade for a million dollars.

But yesterday sent my mom-o-meter helter skelter.

My oldest got out of his grandmother's car and ran up to me after school with tears in his eyes saying that the teacher and principal walked into his class and handed out Magic Basketball tickets to everyone who scored in the top percentile for the FCAT. This is the standardized test that all 3rd graders have to take in Florida to prove that the teachers know what they're doing. That's right. Test the children to make sure the TEACHERS know how to do their job. I'm not bitter. I'll go on. And i apologize now, because there are a gazillion great teachers out there and i'm just mad right now - don't spam me please.

I love motivation. I think it's great. I think there is a time and place for it AS WELL AS A PROPER WAY TO DO IT.

Yesterday during this exercise, everyone EXCEPT my son received a ticket. So, while they called up each and every kid, my son sat there and watched every child in the class get a ticket except him.

Last year, i posted about our struggle with his learning disabilities and his right brain/left ear performance deficit. It has not been easy. The mere fact that my son EVEN PASSED AT ALL was an ENORMOUS victory in our house.

We spent 2 afternoons a week at the eye specialist for vision therapy that insurance did not cover. We spent every Wednesday afternoon at the speech and learning center in College Park - again out of pocket. On days we weren't in some form of therapy we were catching up on the homework that was missed, in addition trying to keep him in football so he would have some semblance of normalcy.

I heard "i'm dumb", "I'm stupid", "this is TOO hard" and "I don't want to go to school" more than any parent should in one year.

When his little brother passed him in reading levels i thought he was going to break down right there and i was going to have to put him in counseling for THAT too.

I am mad. No, I am PISSED.

But I got this. This will not go quietly into the faint dark night. Oh no.

What part of that was encouraging to my son? Seriously??? When it appeared that more than 65% or 70% of the kids were going to get tickets they should have realized it was going from PRAISING excelling children to PUNISHING the ones that barely got by EVEN THOUGH THEY WORKED THEIR BUTTS OFF.

His little tear streaked face begged me NOT to call the school. He said he didn't even want to tell me because he KNEW i would not let this sit. He is right. He doesn't want the ticket. NONE of us want the ticket. We want some teachers and administrators with common sense.

Baby boy, i'm sorry in advance. The wheels are in motion...


Pop and Ice said...

Oh, dear. That was a truly horrible way to handle incentives for you son's class. And it certainly doesn't help those students being streamlined into "regular" classes wish to remain in them. Surely there had to be a better way to award the incentives.

Owens Family Adventures said...

Oh no. I only got halfway through your post and felt some rage on behalf of your son. That is just unacceptable. Need me to go up there with you and have your back cause I have three of my own and I would totally go!!
I can see if there were like three or even 10 kids getting a kuddos but what they did is just.......okay, I will try and be calm but the momma in me is aghast.
Hugs to you and your wonderful son!!

Maja said...

I got halfway through this and was in tears, for two reasons. 1) the fact that this country makes you pay out of pocket for all that therapy - as if it was your fault or your son's fault. It's ridiculous and offensive and it makes me want to scream, and 2) I just don't understand how a principal and administrators in a school for young children could possibly not see how incredibly idiotic they are and how hurtful that was. I swear I sometimes wonder about why people go into education. I know many wonderful and great teachers but I know just as many that I would be absolutely terrified to have my (future) children spend 8 hours a day with them. I really hope you can get some people together to support you or something because this is absolutely unacceptable...I feel so enraged that I'd consider writing a letter myself to the school board or something. I hope you get some justice for your son although we all know there's no way to take back what happened. Good luck!

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

I have several friends and relatives who are teachers, and they concur with you that it's dumb to evaluate teachers' performance by testing kids, who are at all different levels and abilities. It limits the teachers and diminishes their creativity in being able to teach each individual child in the best possible way for that child.

As Dawn said, if the awards went to the top 3, that would be one thing. But what they did in your son's classroom is unconscionable.

Go for it and let us know the outcome. Prayers for all.

Amy said...

This kind of thing makes me so furious!! You go let them have it. What kind of arsehole can do something like that to a child? I could not do it. It's so obviously unfair and just mean.