Thursday, May 16, 2013

When a child is hurting, Part 2

It started, I think, within the first week of Amelia returning to our parish school for second grade.  It began with notes in her planner saying things like, "not on task today", "can't stay in her seat", "not following directions".  On one particular day, the teacher caught me in the parking lot and explained to me that Amelia had lied to her about finishing an assignment.  Amelia said she had finished it, but could not produce it for the teacher.  After some investigation, the teacher found the paper crumpled up in the trash can in the classroom, unfinished.  We never did get to the bottom of that incident.  However, during that meeting in the parking lot, the teacher made a few things very clear....
  1. This teacher let it "slip" that she was not a fan of homeschooling.
  2. This teacher made her opinion quite obvious  that Amelia was "not ready for second grade".
  3. This teacher implied that Amelia's inability to stay in her seat or stay on task was directly related to homeschooling the previous year. 
This particular teacher is very small and petite.  She is very soft spoke and kind  so it took awhile for me to understand that in her own soft spoken and kind way, she was criticizing me.  It hardly seemed noticeable at the time, but throughout the year, she reiterated her position several times...always blaming the year we homeschooled. for Amelia's classroom behavior.  In her eyes, that one year of homeschooling had knocked Amelia's socialization skills off it's axis.  She wasn't functioning well in a classroom setting.  This would not be the last time these words were spoken to me...not by a long shot!

Amelia's behavior continued to decline, slowly at first but it picked up speed toward the end of the year.  At one point, she received something that our school calls an "N.O.C." or "notice of concern".  The incident involved an outburst of anger where she slammed her books and her desk chair. I had begun to notice that she was becoming more impulsive with her actions when she was frustrated.  Although she was not violent, she definitely was losing grip with self control.  I suspected that while Amelia was losing self control, her teacher was losing patience.

Her grades remained stable, with the exception of reading comprehension and math computation.  There were some negative remarks on her report card but they mostly had to do with her attitude.  Her final report card was good, as far as I was concerned.  She passed to the third grade and I was thankful.  They did mention that she needed to work on reading and math over the summer.  The resource teacher provided a packet of worksheets for her to work on.  Dan's sister is a kindergarten teacher in the public school system.  Since our kids usually spent most of their summers with her, she agreed to work with Amelia on her reading skills and to help her complete the summer work that the school assigned.

That summer went well.  Her aunt worked with her ALL SUMMER LONG and by the time school started, Amelia's reading level was exactly where it needed to be for beginning third grade.  Her first quarter grades were terrific..all A's and B's.  However, it wasn't long before her behavior began to take a dive...again.  When the third grade teacher worked with her one on one, she did fine, but again, she was struggling within the classroom setting.  She couldn't sit still.  She fidgeted with anything and everything.  The teacher tried moving her all over the classroom in hopes of finding her a "spot" that worked.  She was becoming more and more of a distraction for the other students.

Tune in tomorrow for When a child is hurting, Part 3!

You can read Part 1 by clicking here!

No comments: