Monday, October 6, 2008

Braden & his grade one experience. Part 1. (October 6, 2008)

I promised to post about Braden's grade one experience. I have briefly touched base in previous posts, but will now elaborate.

The 3rd day of grade one, (which was technically 2.5 days, as the first day was a half day) His teacher asked me if his birthday was late in the year. I said no, he just turned 6 at the end of July. Why? She replied "Well, he just seems so...young". Um. He's SIX.

Before I continue, I must note that she has just come back after a year of maternity leave (thank you Canada!!), and is used to teaching only kindergarten. Not a kindergarten/grade one split. There were 9 grade ones and 12 kindergartners

The 4th day of school Mrs. U. said she did not want Braden and this other boy in the same class. Now, it wasn't just these tow things that were said that made my red flags go up. It was a feeling. That mother instinct feeling.

After Mrs. U. told me she didn't want these students in the class together, I said "FINE! I'll see what I can do." I didn't want him in the split class anyways, and *knew* this was going to be a challenging year. Boy, is that an understatement!

So I marched my butt down to see the principle, told him I wanted my son switched to the other grade one class, where he tells me, "As a rule, I make no classroom switches during the first week of school. See how next week goes, and if you feel the same way, we will rectify this." Okay. Fine. Fair enough. I let it go the entire next week. Monday to Friday I hear moaning, whining, and complaining from the teacher. Not about my son. But about other students! How unprofessional! I certainly don't want my son discussed with other parents, and I'm sure other parents feel the same way! So the Monday after the second week of school, I go in to speak with the principle to have Braden switched. He said No. HUH? Excuse me?? WHY NOT. He tells me "As a rule, I NEVER make changes to the classroom list after the second week." I was SO mad I couldn't say. a. word. I repeated what he told me and he squirmed. I told him I TRIED talking with him on Friday after school but he wasn't there. I want a change NOW. I honestly don't remember what he said to convince me. I do recall telling him if the teacher continued to be this unprofessional, I WOULD have something done.

Now, keep in mind, I am very outspoken...with friends, family and people that I know I won't see again or very often. I do get intimidated though quite easily. I have never been a mother to a grade one kid before. I had NO CLUE as to how much input I had over the teachers/school.

In October, the teacher called a meeting. Her, the teacher who taught on Friday's, the principle and Braden's Wednesday teacher...from kindergarten, plus the other grade one teacher. The reasons for this meeting?

1 - Braden's behaviour. He stuck his middle finger out at another student at lunch time. Who, incidentally, ADMITTED it was him who taught my kid that, and that Braden didn't know what it meant. Until AFTER the teacher told him what it meant! There was no meeting for this boy.

2 - Braden went pee to much. He left the classroom multiple times a day to go to the washroom. "Does he ask, or just leave?" I questioned. "He asks", says the teach. I asked her "what do you tell him?" She responded "I say 'If ya gotta go, ya gotta go!" I told her the bathroom trips were her issue, not mine. All I could tell him was not to go if he didn't have to, but if the teacher was going to let him, How is that MY issue?

3 - Braden turned the bathroom light off on another student who was using the washroom. (It's a single toilet bathroom with the switch on the outside) She said that when he did it, he laughed and "told on himself" saying "Ha ha ha!! I just turned off the light on so and so!" The teacher was mortified and disgusted. She said she couldn't understand why he would do something like that and find it funny. I laughed. The laughter didn't go over well. They kept trying to tell me how dangerous it was and yada yada yada. I interrupted and said "Maybe Braden "told on himself because what he did was FUNNY. Not BAD. Maybe inappropriate, but not bad." Mrs. U. said, "well I just don't know where he would get that from!" So I laughed more, and said "Maybe from me! *I* do that to him sometimes. He turned the light on right away, right?" She nodded. They ALL squirmed in their chairs.

Mrs. D (his Wednesday kindergarten teacher) was asked how his behaviour was the last year. (the principle was new last year. That's why he didn't know him. *side note. Braden was NEVER sent to the office) All she could say was "He was always running in and out of the classroom. In one door and out the other. Know what I told her? The truth. I said "First of all, what you have to say here I would like to be ignored. This is a new year, a fresh start and you only taught him once a week. Not ONE SINGLE TIME was there EVER ANY complaint about my son last year. Not. ONE. As for him running in and out of the class? I can assure you, as I witnessed myself, the only time that happened was Wednesdays. Not to mention, Braden wasn't the only one, was he?" She looked down and admitted (although stuttering and stammering) that yes, there were quite a few other kids who did it too.

Sometime in November I really realized that Mrs. U. was not teaching children. She was trying to conform them. I don't think she did it on purpose, but here's why I now refer to her as wanting to robotize my child.
She came to me after school one day and said that Braden said "potty" a lot. I thought she meant he was being a shit head and just kept saying "potty" over and over again to be annoying. WRONG.
She continued with, "I think at this age kids should be saying "washroom" or "bathroom" instead of "potty". It just sounds better. Maybe you could work on this at home with him?" HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I looked at her with my eyebrows raised and said "*I* say 'potty'. My 1.5 year old say "potty". I don't care what he says as long as it isn't 'Yo teach! I gotta go piss and take a crap!'"

I ALMOST had her laughing. Probably from shock though. She changed her tune a bit. She said "well, I just don't want him to get teased if he's the only one saying it." I replied, "If Braden starts getting teased because of what he's saying, I'm pretty sure he'll change it on his own. Also, I would expect that as a teacher, you would discourage teasing?" She looked dumbfounded and nodded her head. I was PISSED.

Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon to a blog near you!

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