Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm not naughty enough, I'm not loud enough...

On Fridays, SS's teacher rewards the children's behavior. She does this by awarding the educational posters they have used that week. The first week of school SS's friend E received a poster. The second week SS's friend K received a poster. As the weeks have passed, many posters have been awarded, with a lot of kids receiving more than one since school began. SS has yet to receive a poster and is feeling understandably left out. I asked E's and K's moms how the reward system works. Is our child so ill behaved that she has not had a good day in two months? Mrs. V-P is certainly not shy about telling parents when their kids have misbehaved. A sure tell sign is when she is holding a child's hand at the end of the day. That guarantees a good dressing down in front of the other parents and children.

D and N (the moms) have volunteered in the classroom, and assured me that SS is perhaps the best behaved one in class. She does not speak out of turn, sits as expected, does not chit chat during class, listens to instructions. They also stated that SS does not go out of her way to stand out, she does not raise her hand to answer questions, when her class mates are falling over each other doing that. This did not surprise us, because it is typical SS, amazing front stage behavior, while letting all hell break loose at home. Also, classical post institutionalized behavior.  N and D stated that the teacher asks who has not received a poster, but SS "does not get into the fray." Our daughter is getting lost in the shuffle, falling through the cracks, being ignored on a daily basis. All that because she is well behaved.

We have immense respect for teachers, it is a difficult job, and the reason why we did not choose it as a profession. However, it should not be the child's duty to inform the teacher that her good behavior has not been rewarded. I am not in the classroom, yet I know how many kids have come home with a poster, some multiple times. There's another disturbing side to this reward system. E and K happen to be two of the biggest trouble makers in the classroom. K is in danger of being suspended, and E, well, she is loud and proud.  Mrs. V-P rewards them when they disturb the class less than usual. HUH? WTF? Now we are rewarding poor behavior? This really adds insult to injury.

Recently SS complained that she has never received a poster and that it makes her feel sad.  I told her that her turn would come, to be patient and wait (totally regretting saying that now). At home, SS was working on her homework, and out of the blue said. "I'm never going to get one." I asked her how come she said that. SS very matter of fact stated "I'm not naughty enough, I'm not loud enough, they don't see me." If you want to have your heart shattered into a million pieces, that statement would do it. Five year olds are not insightful creatures, they are  narcissistic, solipsistic, unable to see beyond their needs. It is disturbing that our five year old daughter was able to articulate her feelings so eloquently. No five year old should have to be made feel that way. Eloquent and insightful yes, but still hurtful and completely unnecessary.

We tried to talk to SS's teacher twice, without success. Apparently we are as invisible as our daughter. P's initial reaction was f*ck it, we are changing teachers. That is indeed a possibility, but SS's wall flower, post institutionalized behavior will continue.  No matter how much she cried, she never received more than 24 ounces of formula a day.  No matter how much she cried, no one held her.  No matter how much she cried, no one soothed her after a night terror. No matter how much she cried, no one played with her, taught her to use a toy, cuddled with her. P's second reaction was to look into private school. SS was treated extremely well in preschool, and it is true that you get what you pay for. Well Mr. Moneybags, you were hell bent on this program. I was skeptical all along, because I was concerned about SS's command of English, before adding the rigors of a second language. SIGH

We talked to Nana yesterday, because we were at the end of our rope in terms of frustration. Since we had discussed this ad naseum, we did not beat around the bush, we said that SS was being ignored in the classroom. Nana's first question was if SS was well behaved. And yes therein lies the problem.  Nana told us that she has apologized to kids for not knowing their names, because she did not have to use it enough. However, she was referring to her current position as a substitute teacher. Kids she has never met before, and in classes with many more kids than SS's. That is completely understandable.  Nevertheless SS's situation is a direct result of her good behavior. What to do?

SS is not in school today, and we do not feel comfortable having her return until we address this issue with her teacher. Communication is non existent despite our efforts, and we need to change that. We have yet to receive any feedback regarding SS's behavior or academic performance.  We know she is learning Spanish, because it is obvious, not because her teacher has taken the time to inform us.  She has yet to say anything to us about our child, other than ask if she was adopted. According to Nana, schools have already held parent-teachers conferences. SS's school does not hold those for kindergarten. They reasoned that orientation was sufficient.  The problem is that due to safety concerns, parents are not allowed past the front gate, let alone in the classroom. I have completed the process to obtain a badge to be allowed to volunteer in the classroom. I was waiting until after my surgery to volunteer, but that might not be possible.

P is hand delivering a note to SS's teacher this morning. We tried sending a message through the school website, but it requires login with your child's student ID. When I asked the office registrar for this information she said she had no idea what I was talking about. We tried sending an e-mail, by looking at other email addresses and try to figure out Mrs. V-P's (they all usually follow the same format), again without success.  Really, it should not be this difficult. teacher's number one complaint is uninvolved parents. Here we are bending over backwards trying to communicate, and we get nothing in return.

Seriously, how can anyone ignore this angel? SS's kindergarten picture, and that is one weird pose there. 

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