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Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Lot Going On

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Now the winds are dying down, and the stress is beginning to lessen. This afternoon, after picking up the boys at school, we headed to the cinema to see Monsters v. Aliens in 3D. Talk about fun. We were the only ones in the theater, so we didn't have to worry about talking or laughing too loudly. At times, one of us would reach out to grab what seemed to be coming straight at us from the screen.

This time of the semester, I have a bit of coasting I can do. The students are finishing up their portfolios, and I have nothing that needs to be graded until those portfolios come in. Then for three days I have to read, evaluate, and factor the final grades. At the end of those three days, I can give a final sigh of done.

Once the grading is finished, once the grades are submitted, I will clean my office, turn off the lights, and call it a semester. In front of me will be three months of whatever happens to happen. I kind of like that.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Teacher Issues

My two youngest kids attend a Catholic school, and this year has been particularly difficult for the older of the two. At this point in the school year, I'm ready to take him out and put him in the public school system. The way I figure it is in putting him in the public school, I'll be paying a lot less for imcompetent teaching. Why pay thousands of dollars for the same in a private school? To me that doesn't make any sense. As such, today I went to the junior high down the street and asked for the registration packet, filled out the forms, and am in the process of getting him set to make the switch.

Initially, my son was skeptical about leaving the only school he's ever attended. Over the weekend, though, he warmed up to it. On Sunday, he came to me and said he was actually looking forward to changing schools. He's looking at it as an opportunity rather than something to fear, and for that I am very happy. I see a sparkle in his eyes that I've never seen before regarding school and learning. It almost seems as if a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. In a way, I feel the same. And the weight all goes back to a particular teacher who has done nothing but make him feel inadequate, irresponsible, and incapable. As an educator, I despise this teacher and what she has done to my son over this school year. Part of me thinks I only have myself to blame for not stepping in and saying something much earlier, but looking back, I did step in. I did ask her to help me help my son. She is the one who refused, on more than one occasion.

I keep thinking the problem I'm seeing is just me and my own involvement in education. I certainly have my ways of doing things and what I believe to be the best ways to reach students. I kept asking myself if this was influencing how I was seeing what this teacher was doing. Each day, though, I hear from many other parents who are expressing the very same frustrations as I have been, and when many other parents see the same kind of inexcusable teaching methods that do not make sense, I have to think it isn't just me. It actually is really bad teaching. How long do I continue to expose my son to her bad teaching? As far as I'm concerned, enough is enough. Though only seven weeks of school remain, I'm ready to take the plunge and see what happens when my son makes the change. I believe as long as we're supporting him, he'll be just fine. Perhaps he'll find this is exactly what he's been needing for quite some time now and bloom like never before.