Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Because You Have To!

Yesterday was one of those days when you know that god is testing you to see if you remember that sometimes you have to "let go and let god..." I, for one, find this a bit difficult since I am a stubborn head strong opinionated out-going lady that has a hard time finding the right filter words for a situation that has me on the brink of explosion. I would like to say that these types of things do not happen to me often but they do. I have a short temper and get frustrated easily.
Example: After calling our cable/phone/Internet provider for the 10th time in a week to request that the 5th technician come out to our house to try to fix our issues, the person on the other end of the phone barely spoke English. Usually, I have no problem with this. But he just kept saying the words "I assist you." over and over and over and OVER until I cracked, broke, erupted in frustration and anger. He hung up on me but not before telling me in very clear English that he did not have to listen to me any more. I have not called back and NO our services are not fixed but I could not handle it any more.
Or there could the that time at one of our local craft stores when I asked for assistance because I had all 4 children with me, drove 20 minutes to get there, only to find out that I forgot my coupon which would have only saved me $5 but hey $5 is $5 dollars and the manager got all close talker on me proceeded to yell and stick his finger in my face because apparently "YOU MUST HAVE YOUR COUPON." Since I was holding a baby and did not want to make a further scene, I left went home printed several copies of the coupon from the website and returned to the store and handed them out. Yes, because it was really important that you have your coupon. There are more stories like this that I could tell you for days but I will spare you the agony. I just wanted to share a few before I continue to tell you the follow...
With all seriousness, I do have a strong will and you all know that there is not much that sets me off more than poor customer service. However, there is one thing that can get my goat like nothing else and that is when you mess with my child. I have a serious case of MAMA BEAR SYNDROME! Somethings have happened recently that have sent my mama bear into a tizzy.
First, yesterday I read this article yesterday. I do have first hand knowledge about our (and one other state's) standardized test. They are very difficult, confusing, and most of all frustrating! You  know when you are teaching  kids to read you ask them to pick a book based on the "hand or 5 method."All that means is that if they can read any 2 pages of a book but they have 5 or more words they cannot pronounce or understand then they need to find a different book. WHY? Well, theory is that if they have book that they cannot understand all the words they will frustrate out and loose interest not just the book but in reading all together. Interesting right? Well, if you look at the standardized and apply the same theory can you imagine how many children actually try on the test especially after years and years of this testing.  Am I saying that no kids try on the test...OF COURSE NOT! I am sure there are many who do. But if you read that  article it is more than that. It not just the frustration of repeated testing it is the actual content too. Plus, a lot of the curriculum has gone away from teaching kids and become very much test oriented and I for one am left wonder what is my child actually learning. That and today's teacher is frustrated too. Probably to the breaking point, I know I was. When, as a teacher you do not enjoy your duties anymore and find your attitude rubbing off on the poor over worked and under paid kids IT IS TIME TO GET OUT! Something to think about. I know I have said this before but children are way more capable then we (in general not everyone) give them credit for. They can do so much more than they are asked. I am not talking about manual labor but their desire and capacity for learning is much more vast than the educational system allows them to because of...I will not even try to pretend that I know the answer.
Let me tell you another story:(some how this deleted when I originally posted it)
I know couple that lived in Texas for a couple of years. At the time they had one child that attended grades K-2 while they were there. The particular district where their son attended happened to participate in ability grouping. Not an ideal learning environment but one that could not and would not be changed. To the parents surprise their child was grouped in "advanced" and placed in 3rd grade reading and math before leaving Texas and moving to the Midwest. When their son started school in the new state and new district he was labeled delayed in reading because he could not pass the phonemic test specific to that district. Not that he couldn't read because he could and well above grade level but because he could not pass a test specific to that district they wanted to child to attended remedial reading. WHHHHHAAATindepently practice math and not draw or doodle?  Did the parents fight this? Yes, so much so that all communication between the teacher and parents ended. When I say all I mean everything. No lunch menus, no calendars, no field trip permission slips (they just took the child with out the parents know or signing one), etc. Did the parents continue to fight? YES! Did they win? Well, that is a matter of opinion. Nothing at the school changed. Nothing was done at an administration level. Nothing was done to help the child. The district just did not seem to care or want to help and then the year was over. BUT what did happen is that the child saw that his parents believed in him and his education. He saw that they wanted the very best for him and would do everything they could to get even if it meant going home empty handed. He knew then and for the rest of his life that there were people that he could count on no matter what! So I ask you, did they win? I think so.


So what is the point of all of this? I am struggling with my teenager and one of his teachers and needed to vent. I sat last night and wrote a 5 page letter that I am sure will never be sent nor will it be read by anyone but me. So why did I do it? I did it because it helped me get my hot headedness out of the way so that I could write an email with less emotion. An email based solely on her words and not what my child had told me. I did it to be a better advocate for my child because no one, and I do mean no one, cares more about my child and his education than I do. There is no one else to fight for him and there is no one else that will take responsibility for such an important task. I did because he is my child and I BELIEVE in him and the possibilities that await him. I did it because I HAVE TO! Your child has no stronger voice than yours, not until they more mature, older, more well read, etc. Am I more mature, more well read than my child? The jury is still out but I have a pretty good game face. Your child has rights weather you know it not. Familiarize yourself with those rights and never give up on your child. 
Just to clarify, would I make a big deal out every little thing that happened to my child? ABSOLUTELY not! I do believe in the educational system to a degree and trust them enough to do right by my child (and yours). But there are times when you know, you just know because you feel it in your gut that THIS IS NOT RIGHT and that is when you awaken your bear mama bear but present her in an unemotional way.  

  
See the difference? More bees with honey than with vinegar.
Thank you everyone for letting me vent and more importantly ramble! I needed to. Did I get down and dirty and tell you what is happening now? NOPE, I sure did not but will I? I will when the dust settles. It will be interesting to have your input on this and future ramblings about dealing my teenager. I have never had one before and I thought it would be a breeze. I was wrong.
HUGS~
Jenni