Unlike previous Septembers, this one was quiet.
In the past, Septembers were loud and emotional and full of tantrums. Frequent emails and phone calls from the principal and meetings at large tables with all of the key players.
This year, the return to school was quiet and the details we heard about school…almost completely quiet.
We held our breath and wondered if things were truly going well or were we just in the dark.
For once, I didn’t want to be “that” parent. I didn’t email and I didn’t ask.
Once October rolled around, the noise began. It started with Monday mornings being the most difficult. Then the complaining spread and infected the other days of the weeks.
“I’m tired and I don’t want to go.”
“My foot hurts and I don’t want to go.”
“I’m bored and I don’t want to go.”
“It’s loud and I don’t want to go.”
“I hate it there and I don’t want to go!”
Each time we heard a complaint, we explained it away. We worked to find solutions to the dilemmas and then new issues would pop up like annoying and persistent dandelions.
When I contact the school staff, either by emails or face to face meetings, I am left with more questions.
I am told that she knows the spelling is too easy, but that is her highest spelling group. She knows that the classroom is noisy because of all the cooperative learning that takes place and with that, I feel frustrated. When my son says that he is bored and his teacher agrees that he must be, I am left confused and annoyed.
The school staff is happy because he is acting appropriately. They see him eating in the lunchroom and attending music with the others, and they think the problems are solved. Maturity is the answer! They don’t understand what it takes for my son to hold it together and to comply with the rules. They don’t realize that it can’t stay this way, housing a boy instead of educating him, exciting him to all the possibilities that school can be.
The other day, my son said that he just tells everyone what they want to hear. He says school is fine because, “that is the right answer.” Being a highly introverted and sensitive kid, I’m sure it is easier to give the expected response.
Every morning, there is a repeat performance of the previous morning. He doesn’t want to get out of bed. He doesn’t want to get dressed. He doesn’t want to go to school.
As a teacher, it is hard to go to school and help other children, when I can’t seem to help my own. I can’t blame him for his feelings when it sounds as though his complaints are spot on and that little thought is given to making it better.
I hate that my kid hates school!
Has your child ever hated school? What did you do about it?
I think you post really brings home the point that many times schools aren’t looking to educate the student according to their individual needs. And boy do I feel for you. My experience has been that many times they are looking to have a student who can conform to classroom requirements and complete the required curriculum. Sadly, thriving is not in many schools’ vocabulary – or anywhere on their radar. Yes, I heard this from both of my kids. Some years, depending on the classroom and teacher, it was worse than others. Finally, we ended up identifying school situations that fit for both our kids. For one, it was a project-based learning charter school – with lots of freedom to explore and create. For the other, it has been a hybrid home school/on-campus program that is allowing him to pursue courses on creating video games. Nothing has been absolutely perfect, but when we couldn’t work any longer with the situations we were in, we explored until we found ones that were a better fit.
Being a teacher myself, I know how hard the job is and I know that most really try. I just don’t know about his sensory issues and his highly-giftedness that goes with his sensitivities and introverted nature. It is too much.
Mine needs to see that education is valuable and at this point, it feels like jumping through hoop after hoop.
Would love to know how you found your computer classes, we struggle to find them appropriate for his age group.
Boy, no one said that this parenting thing was so complicated!!! Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂
Just to clarify, I do recognize how hard teachers work and what a task it is to meet he needs of so many different kinds of students. At the same time, I don’t think many schools are set up to address giftedness and sensory issues (I have two who are gifted and got sooo… bored) and one of them has the sensory issues too. There is a program called DigiPen that we found when my son tried to write his own video game and the video game manufacturer (Nintendo) suggested it. They offer programs for all ages and many of them are online too. It’s been a valuable program for both my kids. I think classes like this are being offered elsewhere as well, but this is the one that’s been great for our family.
Yes to answer your question when he was in a traditional school setting. He was young and I moved him to a school that could meet his needs better, smaller classroom size=less noise, distractions. Also a place that could meet asynchronous learners, send him to higher grade in subjects he excels. It’s not easy to find the “ideal” setting, sometimes I believe there really is none except homeschooling(which I’m not ready to do yet)….in the meantime my son is happy, learning and making friends at his current school. Does he learn as much as he could if he had the freedom at home, probably not. I struggle everyday thinking about is this the right place for him?
That setting sounds great! I don’t know of a school around here that understands the extreme sensitivity and varying ranges of interest and development. If you don’t mind, I would love more info about that school…perhaps you can email me email@example.com
Thank you 🙂
It is hard, I agree.
I will look into that since it sounds like a good option! Thank you 🙂
Yes, my daughter hates school for the same reason that I did. Its hard! My son is like my husband. He’s bored and needs more, but not busy work. He wants challenges that are fun and interesting. They both loved Montessori and I wish that I could go back. Middle school has been wonderful though because he has so many subjects that change each quarter and he stays interested and doesn’t have time to get bored before it changes. He has after school activities all in one place so we don’t have to run all over after school either. The teacher also doesn’t have time too much time to get tired of his quirks and disruptions. Its hard because we (my husband and I) sympathize. We hated school and still do. I hope it gets better.
I so understand the more, but not busy work! Glad middle school is better! I think we will need to make some changes before that
Obviously he is very smart and perceptive if he knows what he has to do to get along at school. My nine-year-old, who was just diagnosed with high-functioning autism (and I haven’t written about it or talked about it yet) often says he wants to switch schools. He needs more socialization and social skills, and I have been asking his school to do this for two years now. It is frustrating when you know what they need, but don’t know how to get it for them. Big hugs, mama!
Thank you, Kathy.
I think we have more in common than I first knew 🙂
I know what his school day should look like. I know what should be added and what should be removed. Now I have to see how to help make that happen 🙂 It is frustrating, but we keep at it because that is what we do, right?! 🙂 blessings to you!
I’m curious…if you were the teacher of any of the children mentioned in the posts, what would you do? How would you solve this dilemma?
For one thing, I don’t think that most teachers understand the social and emotional issues of the highly gifted. Many doubt giftedness when a child isn’t a leader or able to extend the lessons themselves.
A better understanding of sensory issues, limiting the stuff on the walls and stripping our classrooms of fragrance and twinkle lights that serve as distractions.
More breaks in a curriculum packed day…even 5-6 minutes that can help a hungry child or a child that is distracted by the need to use the restroom or get a drink. Breaks to move and breathe.
Designing activities that balance cooperative and partner work and working on your own.
Teaching social skills without assuming understanding.
Adjusting curriculum to meet kids at current levels in reading, writing, spelling, etc.
Forming relationships and knowing high interest subjects.
Talking and truly celebrating what we have in common and what is different about who we are and how we learn.
Questioning our homework choices and eliminating busy work that adds to anxiety and frustration.
Do you feel any of those things are happening in his room? What do you think his teacher’s perception is on how well/poorly she is doing the things on the list?
I’m so sorry you are dealing with this, it can’t be easy! I only wish my son could have said he didn’t like it at school, and why, but he acted out instead: ran, hid, tantrums, rudeness, hitting… We all did our best to make it work for him. This year he is in a special class with special kids and he has only 10% of the behavioral problems he had before with his full-inclusion aide. The change in schools and classrooms was harder on me! But seeing him happy makes all the difference. Oh what a road we travel!
Thank you! My son doesn’t qualify for a special classroom and was exited from special education two years ago.
We were told by an “expert” that eventually, we would need to homeschool him because he would be bored. That makes me sad because I know that school could be and should be valuable.
I don’t think that she understands the social/emotional needs of highly gifted. I’m not sure if she understands the importance of building a relationship or not.
I believe she understands the sensory needs as we explain them, but I’m not sure if she understands how to help a noisy room or an abundance of cooperative learning focused activities.
She has shared that she knows he is bored, but doesn’t seem to know how to change that. They are not expected to differentiate in the same way that my colleagues do on a daily basis.
I’d love to talk with you at length to hear your thoughts on how best to coach teachers.
Would love to 🙂
Seems like such a challenging dilemma. I work in education and know how very many things teachers are balancing, as you note. Not sure where you’re located, but it seems like a homeschool-based program such as this one (local to us) might be great for your TBP. It wasn’t for us for a number of reasons, but I wonder if something where you are might offer something similar. I think one of the big draws is that it is set up to take place during school time, so for those who can’t/don’t want to homeschool, there is coverage. http://scl.partsandcrafts.org/
Thank you for visiting and your comment! We are already looking to try a partial day with homeschooling for next year. Today, we got a frustrating email from his teacher which just confirmed this…