It's that time of year again. Summer break is wrapping up quickly. Aside from when I was a child, I can't remember a summer break that I've welcomed more. Roan really struggled this past year and as a parent it really was the first time I experienced a lot of frustration directed towards my child's school and teacher(s). I've always been the parent to err on the side of the education system. Why wouldn't I be? Gage fits the mold of what a typical boy student is like (give or take a couple incidences where I had to talk to the Principal). I really try to understand the frustrations a teacher must face day in and day out. I can imagine...and frankly it's why I know I could never do that job. Whenever there was an incident with either of my kids at school I made sure I followed through with the 'punishment' at home. It was clear to my kids that they wouldn't be able to play one against the other when it came to me and the school system.
Until this year. Roan started a new school. It's not an entirely new school to me because Gage did two years there as well before venturing off to high school. Gage even won the "Most Personal Growth" award (or something along those lines). Gage excelled there. But, Gage doesn't have issues with paying attention...Roan does. And it's been made quite clear to me that, like it or not, this school ain't got no time for that!
I've read and heard numerous stories and reports from parents on how their school system has failed them. I've listened to tales of frustration and whoa from family members about trying to fight the system for the betterment of their child. In most cases, they've lost. They've had to uproot their kid and move them to another school, another district and in some cases costly private schools and then as a final resort, homeschooling. Now I'm feeling it first hand; maybe not to the extremes of the others, but enough to leave a sour taste in my mouth.
Back in December we were strong armed into putting Roan back on medication 'for his own good' as he was currently not in an academic position to move on to Grade 8. Scary words. I felt like I'd failed. We conceded but only with the promise from the school staff that they'd make concessions on their end too with the hopes of helping Roan succeed. Those things happened...in the beginning. And then they stopped.
I tried to reason with Roan (my initial instinct was to side with the school after all) and tell him that a teacher has 30 students, so solely helping one stay on task isn't really in the cards. I tried to tell him that he plays a huge part in his personal growth as well and that he has to find a way to push through his difficulties. But towards the end of the year, I started to take stuff personally, on behalf of Roan.
A couple of weeks before school let out, Roan`s teacher told him he was advancing to Grade 8, but barely. Ya, she used that word! Barely. Huh... barely...what did that mean exactly?? Turns out though that he didn't just barely pass. He had three B's, three D's and the rest C's. That doesn't scream barely to me. I know he is capable of better but since four months ago he was 'failing' I think that's a damn decent report card and not worthy of the title of "barely passing". My feelings were hurt on behalf of my child that she would use that word. He struggles and has struggled for years with low self esteem and she is quite aware of that. So for her to pick those words...well, I'm sad for my kid. But that's not the only thing that wrapped up the year with a bang.
The second last day of school Roan and a girl in his class were being silly, throwing stuff at each other, giggling and laughing. I'm sure their goofing off probably wasn't called for (But hey, it was the second last day of school, who's teaching?) and probably frowned upon. In their silliness the girl ended up, unintentionally, with sticky tack in her hair. When Roan brought it to her attention she panicked and ended up pushing it deeper into her hair. Both were hauled down to the office and the parents were called. The conclusion the Vice Principal jumped to was that she'd have to cut all her hair off, so Roan was suspended. Even though, according to the Vice Principal he didn't do it maliciously. Wait, what?? A couple months ago, three grade 8 boys kicked a ball hockey ball square into Roan's face (after several attempts and numerous requests from Roan to stop, they found success) which resulted in a bloody nose that wouldn't stop (so he was sent home) and a bruise on his face, and those shit heads didn't get a suspension...they got a "stern talking to". To add more fuel to my fire in my belly, the girl showed up at school on the last day with NO new hair cut! Big surprise. It's in a mom's blood to get shit out of their kids hair. Clearly this clown doesn't know that.
It probably wasn't a good idea or rather good timing to send his report card home for my comments after all this bullshit went down. His teacher didn't like my comments about the structured, rigid school system that isn't willing to help kids who learn differently than others. I ended my rant with a quote from Einstein, "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life thinking it's stupid." It's a good thing my son who 'can't pay attention' thinks with a more level head than I, because I was ready to immediately pull him from this school.
So onward and upwards we go. In a matter of a week he'll be returning to said school with a new set of teachers and mentally prepared to tackle what Grade 8 throws at him. I've also given him a little incentive this year. If he can make the Principal's Honour Roll, then I'll throw $500.00 at him as a reward to do with as he likes. So far he seems up to the challenge. We've discussed ways for him to be successful and while he remains a little sceptical, I'm confident if he studies, and brings his homework/projects home to actually complete then he'll prove himself wrong. Fingers crossed for a smoother end to his elementary years and a good transition into high school. Gulp! HIGH SCHOOL. I'm heading off to a corner to cry. June is going to destroy me.