Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Protective Mother

CAUTION: Rambling, neurotic motherhood crap coming up. Be Ye Warned.

Y'all, I think I might be an over-protective mother. And I didn't want to be, really. Let me clarify. I want to protect my children from physical injury, illness and life's big bumps, but I didn't want to be the kind of parent who interferes or is always making excuses for their child.

My Aunt Lulu raised some spoiled useless kids, because in her eyes, they could do no wrong. In trouble at school? "Well, that teacher has it in for her, bless her heart." Get fired from the job? "Well, he was only a little bit late, for heaven's sake." Yeah, every dang day! Quit his job? "Well, his nerves were so bad, you know."

So even though it's not Advice Forum Friday, please tell me if you think I'm becoming Aunt Lulu.

Tink has always had very good luck with teachers. Even in the beginning, when she was fresh out of a shelter, and behaved HORRIBLY at daycare, she had a teacher who really got her. Miss Lori was firm but understanding and kept me in the loop, so we could work together to help Tink feel safe, and at the same time improve her behavior.

Pre-K - GREAT first-year teacher who didn't take any crap, but was sweet. She went on maternity leave six weeks before school was out. Their substitute for the remainder of the year was Mrs. Holly. Not so sweet.

Kinder - WONDERFUL teacher.

1st Grade - I talked about Tink's teacher here. Unfortunately, she was in poor health, and in the first 4 weeks, missed several days of school before leaving permanently. Then there was another sub for 2 weeks, and now a permanent sub has been assigned for the remainder of the year. More on that.

So. My child who has issues with change because of her time spent in the foster care system has had at least 4 teachers in 8 or 9 weeks. Oh, and p.s., so has the rest of the class. So - they're crazy. Are you surprised?

Here's the deal. The substitute Tink had at the end of Pre-K was VERY rough. Even physically. So much so that another parent reported her for shaking and spanking Tink. And when the other kids in the class were asked about it, they said, "Oh, she didn't spank Tink. The only one she spanked was Christian." Nice.

Guess who my daughter's permanent teacher is. That's right - it's Mrs. Holly. Oh Holy Night. I have been trying and trying and even trying to be objective in this situation. I Mean It. But here are the things that Tink has been given bad marks (and missed recess) for:

Looking in her desk while the teacher was talking.
Getting her crayons out before the teacher told her to.
Having a messy desk.

Now look, y'all, I know my kid acts up. She talks too much, just like her Momma, and if she came home with a frowny every day for talking too much or running in the halls or kicking or talking back or etcetera, I'd sign that sucker and send it back without a second thought. And talk to her about her behavior. And make sure she corrected her behavior.

But a messy desk? You should have seen Pooh's desk AND locker in 1st grade - they were disgusting, and I corrected her for it. And while all the things I listed above may have been disobedient, did they warrant a "frowny face" or "walking the line" at recess? I just don't think so!

I guess I'm just frustrated, y'all, because Miss Holly just called me to tell me that Tink hurt herself at school, but she's okay. But she didn't just say,

"Tink fell and hit her head, but she's got ice on it and she's okay."

Oh, No. She had to say,

"Tink was scooting around on the benches, and she shouldn't have been, and that's why she fell and hit her head...blah, blah."

I just really feel like this lady is gunning for my kid. And the feeling sucks.

You know what, though? It's my job to stick up for my kid. I may have a little Aunt Lulu in me, but mostly I'm just a Mommy, and if a girl can't count on her Mommy to have her back, then what's she got?


Milehimama said...

I'm sorry, but this woman SPANKED A STUDENT and a parent reported them for ABUSE and she's still TEACHING!???

Get her out of there.

I guess I'm Aunt Lulu too.

But, aside from that... 1st graders are still little. You need to protect her. It's not as if she's 16, skipping class and you are making excuses for her. You need to protect her spirit as well, and her heart for school.

My son (sp. ed., 1st grade) was being denied recess for IMO stupid behaviors - I wrote a stern note to the teacher and principal, because recess is counted as part of their PE (they have to have 2.5 hours a week of physical activity, and their 5 - 20 minute recess counted towards that goal). Kids this young NEED recess, ESPECIALLY if they are fidgety or acting out. Hello! Kid can't sit still, so you WON'T let him outside? Duh.

Oh my. Apparently I'm quite passionate about this. Sorry for all the caps!

Milehimama said...

Me again. You might like this quote:
A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving

Tara said...

I don't know your child. I don't know her history (esp since you mentioned foster care) but in these formative and opinion building years, she needs a superb teacher. Talk to the higher ups. The year IS still young enough that she could get transferred to a new class. A week from the transfer nobody would even remember.

Jennifer said...

First of all, I don't think you are being over protective, Lori. However, I have a problem with that term anyway. We are SUPPOSED to protect our children! (Yes, I realize at some point, parents may over do it, but that's beside the point.)

Anyway, I agree with the other commenters. If you don't stick up for her, who will? Is it at all possible for you to maybe observe for a little while during class time, or volunteer so you can observe at the same time? I realize she (the teacher)may act differently if you are in the room, but maybe it would put some pressure on her to be nice or something. Or she may not act any differently and you can get a better feel for what is going on with her. I definitely wouldn't just ignore it - find out more if you can. If she's like that to all the kids then she most definitely has no business teaching. But even if she just "has it in" for Tink, then something needs to be done as well!

You know, if BD could some how get involved - if he could volunteer or observe, it may make a big difference. I had a teacher (granted it was in Junior High) who was horrible to the students. He had a reputation and we all dreaded the day we may get him. I did - in the 8th grade. And he as horrible. The day he crossed me, I told my dad. The next day my dad had a conference with him and that man was the nicest teacher in the school the rest of the year! He retired at the end of the year! (To this day, I don't know exactly what was said in that conference!) But dads can make a big impact!

I don't know if that's feasible or if it would work, but I don't have any other advice! Just don't brush it off. You are not being over protective.

And sorry I hogged the comment section!

Shel said...

I would agree that you are doing your job. It would also be great if BD could go talk to the teacher about your concerns. When I was in school, both my parents would talk to teachers, and a couple instances of my dad talking to teachers stick in my mind. And both times, I was vindicated in the situation. In art, I got a C for the 9 weeks, my first ever, and my dad went to have a conference, and I got an A the next nine weeks b/c the teacher spent a lot more time helping me. I also remember a teacher who called kids names, like geek, nerd etc, and when she did it to me, my dad went and had a talk with her. That was the last time it happened. As a former teacher, when a parent comes in to chat, I can tell you it makes a big difference in how a teacher relates to the student in the future. Now parents who come in to blame me, usually their kids got a little more attention, but if the parent came in with a situation that they were wanting to work together to solve, I was usually ready to bend over backwards to work with. Just my experience. It seems to hold true somewhat for my husband, a HS teacher. Our first child is in kindergarten, and haven't had much to do yet, but in few times I've contacted the school, I get great results b/c I approach it with an "how can we fix this" attitude. Just a thought.

shoeaddict said...

Lori, I've read your blog. I know your attitude about your girls- you are not one of THOSE moms who thinks their kids do no wrong and laugh when they tear up the room. You know that it's not cute when they misbehave and you know better than anyone their shortcomings, problems, etc.

You are also their champion. You must fight for her! I agree so much when I read the first comment. You really HAVE to do something- with or without BD. TInk needs some runnin' around time. She also needs someone to have her back, like you said.

I am FLOORED about the spanking thing! Do y'all have the paddling policy? I don't know what it's "formally" called but, in public schools here parents ccan sign a paper giving permission for teachers/principal to paddle children. I have no kids. BUT, I'm voting NO on letting them do that.

Anonymous said...

You know we're in the same boat on the sucky teacher issue over at my blog too.

Stick up for Tink - no one else will and she is too young to do it on her own.

Those reasons are crap for her getting frowny faces or low marks - a messy desk has nothing to do with grades in my book.

Sounds like our 2 teachers should get together!

Anne said...

The teacher your daughter has reminds me of the abusive kindergarten teacher MY daughter had. I ended up reporting her to CPS when things got out of hand. And after I did that and talked to other parents, people started coming out of the woodwork with horror stories. If parents don't protect their children, then they won't be protected, even in places like SCHOOLS where children should be the safest. Stand up for your kid- she needs it. Good luck!

WendyDarling said...

Hi, Lori :-) No, I don't believe you are overprotective. I don't think any parent can be these days.

I once had a student that I had to correct in those ways when I taught. But, he was VERY disruptive when he would do those things, and he wasn't listening, which made have to repeat everything 3-4 times. So, I did have a parent/teacher conference.

If Tink isn't being disruptive I don't see the big deal. I do think the teacher is being "nit-picky". I would definitely talk to her and see what the deal is. If she isn't willing to work on the problem then go to the principal and have her moved. If that doesn't help... have you considered homeschooling? :-)