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Hey Teacher! Leave Them Kids Alone!

16 Jun

This following is the communication between my 8 year old’s school principal and myself after I queried her teachers rough treatment of my daughter. ( This is the follow up from the previous post – ‘Is The Taste Of Iron a Good Thing?’).

I have again removed the names and used letters instead.

Dear E.

I have asked Mrs C to respond to your letter.  She will be sending a reply home with H.

I  just realised that I actually witnessed the incident because I went down to the class to observe them coming into the class and I can tell you that H. was definitely not dragged acrossed the room by her arm crying.

Our school policy is for parents to please communicate directly with the class teacher as this will lead to better relations.

H. on a daily basis is extremely trying and spends a lot of her time sulking because she can’t get her own way.  I have asked Mrs C to send her to me as she can be very disruptive in the class but Mrs C. is trying extremely hard to find a way of working with H. to ensure that she doesn’t command all the attention in the class and this is mostly negative attention.

I am going to start insisting that H. is sent to me as she is being very difficult and it is not fair on Mrs C. or the rest of the children. We await Mr V. assessment feedback as we really cannot carry on in this way.

As discussed with you we may have to phone you to come to school to either talk to Hannah about her unacceptable behaviour or even to collect her as she cannot disrupt the class and other children’s education.

Regards  A.

……………………………………

My Reply

Dear Mrs M.

It seems we have a problem. The incident did not take place as they were coming into class and you were not there. I do not doubt the other child’s account, young as they may be, due to the detail involved in the telling, and the fact that it was an unsolicited offering of events that had occurred.

It is interesting to note that both you and Mrs C. spend more time condemning H’s behaviour and less time explaining your own. Your punishments to date have been thoroughly unacceptable. Kicking an 8 year old out of class for an entire day and refusing to allow her to go to music or P.T. while on punishment is frankly unforgiveable.

If H. is indeed struggling with ADD or a variation thereof, the behaviour of both you and Mrs C. is truly puzzling and certainly considering how many years of teaching the two of you have under your belts. You should know better. I do not negate the fact that H. can be difficult but there are ways to teach children who struggle to focus.

Your remark that ‘Mrs C. is trying extremely hard to find a way of working with H. to ensure that she doesn’t command all the attention in the class and this is mostly negative attention’ is astounding! Perhaps if she instead tried really hard to understand H. and engage her she would finally begin to get results.

Insisting that Mrs C. begin to send H. to you when she misbehaves is mis-leading as she has been doing that already, non-stop, for every little infraction. When I bought Thinkwell the other day to help her to focus H. asked me if the medicine will make her good! Breaking a small child’s spirit is not something you should be proud of.

If you feel that you are unable to cope with a child who struggles to focus and concentrate, then it would be much easier to admit that than to continually discredit the child.

Children who have ADD or ADHD are notoriously difficult to deal with, but they are not ill as Mrs C. implied when she said that diabetes is a disease that is treated with drugs and this is no different. It IS different.

I have refused, and will continue to refuse, to medicate my child with schedule 7 drugs. There are many ways to educate children who struggle, but seeing as how the medication route is the only one that you and Mrs C. have continually suggested it begs the question: What now? What response do you have to a parent who will not medicate with harsh drugs and will not remove her child from the school despite the pressure from you and your teachers.

You are going to see more and more of these kids. Surely it is time you learnt to deal with them constructively?

The feedback from the assessment is on Wednesday. Regardless of what the results are they will require your co-operation and committment. How far are you willing to go? I ask this question now, and yes, it is rhetorical, because when we meet you need to know the answer.

As H’s mother I understand the difficulties in teaching her, but because I have made an effort to understand, I have managed to adapt my thinking and get results. It requires flexibility and patience and respect. She is more than capable of learning and behaving but you need to listen to what she’s saying and most importantly understand that she’s not trying to be naughty, she’s simply thinking differently.

If you make an effort to understand these kids and they way they think, it will only take small adjustments to enable them to function better. H. will never be completely ‘controllable’, will always be a bit of a Diva, and will probably visit you more than you’d like in your office, BUT make the effort to understand and adjust and things will get better quickly. The choice is yours.

EW

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8 Comments

Posted by on June 16, 2013 in Adoption Journey

 

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8 responses to “Hey Teacher! Leave Them Kids Alone!

  1. MARK WHELAN'S LITERARY BLOG

    June 17, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Firstly, the forceful use of ritalin on a child is tantamount to abuse.

    Secondly, I cannot advise on how to handle this sorry situation, I am apparently inexperienced and unqualified to do so.

    Thirdly, my missus has a troublesome little nephew, troublesome through no fault of his own, but whenever he is around her (or us), he is the most calm young man. The ‘faults’ of children’s behaviour lie squarely with the ‘adults’.

    Fourthly, since my first year of schooling to my current, I have come across very few dedicated teachers in the truest sense of the word, the bulk of which pitch up for a pay cheque and a dose of ‘child abuse’, patient abuse, thievery, bullying and so on. Urban society is rotten to the core, but the parent will know that love and patience is but one of two tools which will ensure that this special child, and others will grow.

    Jesus said ” suffer little children who come unto me ” – while I am not preaching here, the fact of the matter is that this man, I believe, spoke those very few words, and it is a mantra I will strive to live by. Teachers should catch a wake up, or step aside.

     
    • theforestscribe

      June 17, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Well said! Sadly not only are the teachers losing interest but the system fails them too which makes it worse. Teachers are under extraordinary pressure to perform with a constantly changing syllabus, over – full classes to say nothing of trying to meet the expectation of their principals. This said, instead of arming themselves with knowledge and new methods they are instead drugging the kids without shame or pause. This is a public school but run like a private one, (principals words) which is why we pay double the normal fees – I therefore expect double the normal effort.

       
  2. Johnny Ojanpera

    June 16, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Good for you for the wonderfully crafted letter. I know it’s hard to retain your class when you are up against a force like this. I hope it can be resolved soon. You probably know this, but the superintendent’s office might be your next destination. I can’t believe that a principle would be so immature as to refuse to see objectively. Remember, don’t back down. We pay their salaries.

     
    • theforestscribe

      June 17, 2013 at 7:35 am

      I had a good giggle when I read your response, knowing how much restraint it took me to release this version, as my true version would read VERY differently! Just waiting for the assessment (arranged by them and on their insistence) on Wed and then will decide what to do from there. Lets hope they haven’t influenced it too badly (Their doctor).

       
  3. christine gallacher.

    June 16, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    I think that was a good and measured reply you gave Beth..I know you appreciate what the difficulties are but what concerns me most is the teachers don’t seem to grasp that H, is an 8 year old child and she is the child and they are the adults and I thought it was the adults who have the ware for all to figure out how best to deal with the situation. All children can try our patients we have all been there but eventually it is up to us to protect the child and help them understand their way and show them the way…Kids know when they are not liked and are not being help so they dig their heels in, it is only natural but it is how to help them unravel themselves that they need the help on…They definitely so far seem to have missed that point so far don’t you think.

     
    • theforestscribe

      June 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      our kids are not allowed to be kids anymore, when she cries they call me to complain believe it or not! H. reacts negatively when she doesnt understand how to do something and when she asks for help the teachers refuse because they already explained it. It has to be said that they are expecting our kids to have control when they themselves are not able to maintain equanimity!

       
  4. Tetraplegic Bhoy

    June 16, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I had a discussion with my friend, a teacher, about this subject couple of days ago.

    He said that it is incredible the number of teachers who sit in a staffroom complaining about children with ADD and ADHD. They don’t think it’s fair on them that they should be burdened with them.

    Any wannabe teacher will, at some interview stage, give the answer “I want to help children grow, I want to help mould them into responsible, well educated adults” (or words to those effect). It is sad that for many teachers this is only true if the pupil conforms to ‘normal’ and doesn’t create any problems. They don’t seem as keen on teaching the children who really need the help and the moulding.

    It’s a sad state of affairs that many teachers don’t seem willing to work hard for their wages. However, it is a situation that, my friend assures me, is being dealt with at the highest level of education governance with more guidance being offered to teachers who are struggling.

    Hopefully we see some changes before too many children, like your daughter, are mistreated.

    Steven

     
    • theforestscribe

      June 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      Its a tough situation, and attitude is the leveller. The school has got a lot of kids on ritalin and seems to push the others out. My situation is made worse by the fact that both the teacher AND principal stuck their own kids on ritalin – if they were not willing to walk the path for their own, how can I possibly convince them to do it for mine! They will do anything to avoid realising that their kids never needed to be medicated, that there was in fact another way…..

       

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