My Child’s Education Is Not Your Fall Back Degree

Those are some fighting words are they not?  I have said them and I will stand by them.  Here is the quick story behind these words and why I feel so strongly about that statement.  Let me just repeat myself…

My child’s education is not your fall back degree…

Out to lunch with a friend and their soon to be college child drops by and visits for a few.  I ask them which college they are contemplating going to and what degree they wish to pursue.  The teen is beaming and telling me which two colleges they hope to get into and then they drop the bombshell.  Now if you know me I do not do confrontation, or really speak my mind.   I am leaving that to my blog now, where my friends will probably not go to often, plus I won’t be writing to often about them.  So the bombshell that I talk of is this in a nutshell.  “I am going to study psychology, and I am going to also get my teachers certificate just in case I can’t do anything with my psychology degree.”  Without skipping a beat I look at said young adult and say the heading: “So you are going to get a degree and if it doesn’t work out, my child’s education is your fall back?”  Wow glad to know that you will be entering into a profession that shapes our future with the concept that it is a fall back idea.  Are you frigging kidding me?

Needless to say the teen left and we had a less than stella lunch which I think ended way earlier than either of us intended.  Several weeks went by, and I worried if I had offended or over stepped my bounds.  I went back and forth between beating myself up and telling myself I was justified in bringing to light in this kids eyes that a child’s education is not a fall back job.  Later I got a call from the friend to tell me where their child had been accepted, she then paused and said after my conversation that her child had decided to change majors and would not be obtaining a degree in Education.  After my short conversation with them they realized that that was not a good idea to get a degree in a profession that should be a passion not a fall back degree.  Thank goodness Glad to say years later this child, now an adult is doing amazing things out west with a degree in psychology.

I have come across several teachers that just should NOT be teachers.  I am a mum and I recognize that I should not be a teacher, that said when my oldest F was in a young grade her teacher pushed me to the point of seriously considering being a home school mum.  SCARY!!!!!  I can show and teach other kids, but not mine.  They would drive me crazy, I can do homework with them just fine, that has taken a few years to fine tune, but not every day for 6 or 7 hours, nope not going to happen.  F is a respectful child that when she gets it, she gets it.  Our school system was teaching the Chicago University Math system.  It touches on many points and teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication and division four to five different ways.  Which in theory is great, if a child understands one way let them use that way.  Problem was that if a child got one way and the teacher then moved onto teaching another way and the child didn’t understand that way they were not allowed to use the way that they did understand.  Crazy right!!!!  They were set up to fail.  I am a numbers person, and this is just crazy to me.  So in I went and protested that if my child understood way “A” then let her use that way to solve the problem.  The teacher refused to think outside of the box, and it took a meeting with her, the principle and the head of that department for them to see my point and let F use the way she understood!

Why can’t you think outside of the box.  There is a reason that you are teaching four to five different ways to add, subtract, divide or multiple, so that if one doesn’t work for the child hopefully the next will.  It amazed me that I had to fight for this.

After that meeting my child only had to look in the wrong direction and this teacher would call her out, belittle her and make her feel worthless.  I and Brad tried to help her through the rest of the year, told her to keep her head down and make herself as small as possible.  When I would call and complain she would state in front of the whole class that I had called and I had a problem with this or that and she would then ask the class if they had a problem with it.  I knew this as my child and several others would come home and tell me what happened.  That woman was a witch and should not be a teacher.  We got through the year and moved on, the new school was built in our subdivision and we began walking to school and all was good.

Then came along Bebe our youngest…….  Kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade were awesome.  Then the bomb dropped, we have two K-8 grade schools, which is the major reason so many of us moved into this school district.  We also have little to no revenue in our town, as our town is residential with little commercial business.  When 2008 hit and building stopped so did $$$$$, our school didn’t stop or cut spending and got into financial trouble.  That is the short story, and how I understand it.  One of many solutions was to change the make-up of the schools in the district.  The school in our subdivision was to become a middle school and the older school just outside of our subdivision and across a busy street would be the elementary school.  It was put to the public, but we really had no say, no one wanted to do it, but the board did it.

So in fourth grade she went to the elementary school, where she went from being in a grade of 56 to a grade of over 168 give or take a few.  Can we say culture shock, we had one day of getting to know and then they were shoved like cattle into their rooms and expected to get along without incident.  Well, my kid became withdrawn, had little to no friends and one day she hit the nail on the head by saying “I am homesick mum.”  She missed her school, she missed her friends ( the friends she had were in different classes than her and they were not allowed to sit at the same lunch table), it sucked.  We clawed our way through fourth grade and thought that fifth grade would be better.  The teacher, I will refer to her as Mrs. Z called at the beginning of the year to see if I would come in and discuss Bebe as she has dyslexia. I thought this was a good sign as no other teacher had ever done that and I always had to beg to meet with the teacher.  What an idiot I was.

This woman was good at sitting there and listening and then putting all suggestions into the trash can and doing her own thing.  We have an IEP in place and there are certain things that have to be followed by law.  Firstly her spelling words need to be given to her a week in advance, I was constantly calling and asking for them.  Finally had to go to the head of the specials department and ask her to intervene.  Why? Why?  Why?  This is your job, just do it.

I am going to tell you right now THANK GOODNESS for her Specials Teacher,that woman is a God Send!!!  She gets children, she is amazing and I am so grateful that Bebe has her in her life.

So back to Mrs. Z, little things were going on, like her homework was not getting in on time, yet I knew she had done the work, she wasn’t getting information to me, she was missing work.  So I made a call and set up a meeting.  Come to find out that Bebe was being pulled out of class to go to her Specials teacher for extra reading and writing( which I knew about but…) and that is when homework was handed in by the class.  So my child was being punished and given a missing or “F” for not handing in work even though this teacher knew she was (out of the class at the time) and the work was done.  So I asked that she have a folder on her desk with all her homework in it, and if she was not in the class when it was needed for this Mrs. Z to go to said folder and collect the work. ( I know more work for the teacher!)  That lasted two weeks, so now we do the work, I make notes of done homework in her assignment folder with date and time completed and if it shows up missing or ungraded I send an email stating no the work was done on the this day at this time, so it is not missing please find it.  So sad!!!!

There have been MANY stories I could share with you this year, here is one…

One of the last straws for me was the other day when Bebe came home and said “I give up…”  Those are not the words that you want to hear as a mum.  They just aren’t the words that should ever come out of your child’s mouth.  The class had been told to pull out their packet for social studies, Bebe could not find hers.  They had not yet started the packet, and Mrs. Z said go out to your locker and find it.  It was not there ( Bebe got teary eyed here in the hall) and Bebe told her this, at which point she told Bebe to sit down and look at the wall while everyone else do their packet.  One of Bebe’s classmates looked over and saw the tears falling down her face.

Bebe tries so hard to make sure that no one knows of her dyslexia, she works so hard, when she is out of her regular class she takes the work that she misses from that class and brings it home to do.  So while everyone else in her class has an hour of work we can have anywhere from two to four hours of work on any given night.  Bebe just sat there and cried silently.  The other classmate copied down the vocab words that they were working on and gave it to Bebe so that she could work on that.  Bebe thanked her and started to do the work.  At this point Mrs. Z conveniently found a copy of the packet and handed it to her and said, “Here take this home as you won’t finish it here.”  Nice comment teacher!!!

After that lesson she had to go to her Special teacher, when she got there she asked Bebe why she had been crying in the hallway, another child had seen this and told the specials teacher.  Bebe told her but in the mean time another specials teacher had gone to Mrs. Z and asked why Bebe had been crying, Mrs. Z told her that Bebe had a cold and allergies and that is why she was teary eyed.  She LIED!!!!!  She knew why my child was crying, she had made her cry.  Both specials teachers knew this as well.  Again thank goodness for these teachers, they are a God send and amazing.  They look to the whole student, the academics and the emotional sides.  They know that without one the other can’t be achieved.

My point in ALL of this is that we are dealing with people that should NOT be teachers!!!!  My child’s education, is not your fall back degree.  Teaching should be about instilling into a child the passion to learn.  I am sure that at some point she may well have been a good teacher, but now she is not patient, inspiring or kind.  She should find another job.

I have a friend who was over the other night and she said she used to teach middle school math, she left because she found it frustrating.  All the bureaucracy and red tape, she found herself miserable in the classroom.  She did not want to pass this along to the children in her classroom.

Next year Bebe will have a teacher that my oldest had.  This teacher instilled in F a passion, she ignited a desire to write.  F will be going to college to become a writer.  I pray that this teacher is able to do to Bebe what she did to F.

Ps, I have had several talks with the Superintendent, it falls on deaf ears.  Also I am not the only parent/child that has a problem with this teacher.  It has been a painful year and I am glad we are nearly done!

“My child’s education is not your fall back degree.”  What do you think, should a person go to college and pick up a Teachers Certificate just in case?

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