Have you ever had to deal with one of those teachers? The kind of teacher who always gives you “that look.” The look like you are a horrible parent because they feel like you do not do enough for your child?
I have, and I am done with it.
I have come to the decision that I am checking out. I know it is not the responsible parent thing to do; however, I am just frustrated and burnt out. Now, do not get me wrong. I am not saying I do not care about my children. I care about my children more than anything, which is why I have made this decision.
My son has struggled immensely in school from day one.
I have had so many parent teacher conferences over the years that it is becoming comical. My calendar is riddled with one appointment after another. Most of the phone calls that come in after 3:00pm are teachers and have been for almost six years. I even cringe now when the phone rings.
We have had an IEP, meetings with counselors, teachers, and principals, always hearing those same dreaded words.
“Your son is a dreamer!”
“Your son is unorganized!”
“Your son is behind.”
“Your son fiddles too much in class!”
“Your son will need to be retained!”
“Your son is always falling behind and doesn’t seem to take school seriously.”
“You need to work more with him at home.”
“You need to explain to him how important his education is!”
In addition, my all-time favorite, “Maybe you have too many kids and he is not getting the attention he needs at home.”
Now let me explain how heartbreaking this is to me.
My son is very sensitive. He is the one who is always worried about what people think about him, always worried he is disappointing.
He is the kind of child who cries when you are the one who is hurt, because he feels your distress.
He is the child who wants to help you so you have a better day.
He wants to befriend anyone he encounters, even if the other person does not return the same feeling.
He is the child who hugs you a 100 times a day, telling everyone he loves him or her because he feels everyone should feel loved.
He worries. About. Everything!
He genuinely loves school; he tries harder than most to please his teachers and do a good job, only to feel like a failure when he does not finish in the same time-period as everyone else.
He does not disrupt the class, does not sit and talk, throw things, bounce off the walls. He just sits. If he does not understand something, he stares out in space and becomes withdrawn because he is now to afraid to ask for help.
He learned early on that people get frustrated when trying to help him because he never seems to understand what they are asking.
He learned how awful it feels to have someone look at you with disappointment because you are slower than other people are, far earlier than any person should have too.
We as a family take turns sitting down at the table with him for hours at night, helping him do homework and understand the work in front of him. As a parent, I am heart-broken and frustrated to no end. I spend my nights trying to calm down my anger over the situation, absolutely irritated that there is no help for my son. Why can they not see that just because a test he took in kindergarten says he does not have a learning disability, it does not mean he learns the same way other kids do?
Do you know what it’s like to watch your child cry while he tells you his brain is broken, because he doesn’t understand what we have explained a 100 times that night? Do you know how frustrating it is when you cannot help your child? How it feels to watch him go into a depression complaining about stomachaches, watching for months as circles develop under his eyes because he has stopped sleeping because he doesn’t want to go back to school and face his frustrated teacher. No 10-year-old should feel this way… EVER!
How do you look in your child’s eyes and give him the reassurance he needs when nothing else has ever worked?
How do you make a teacher understand that your child is not behind because of the negligence of his parents or because of the child’s lack of wanting to succeed? I am done pounding my head on the wall trying to explain what this is doing to not only my child, but to our family as a whole.
We have thought about pulling him out of school and homeschooling him, but when we have discussed this with our son, he breaks down and begs us to let him continue. He swears he will try harder; fearing we only want to keep him home because he is not good enough to go to a normal school, or because we need to punish him for not being “normal.”
I am tired. I do not want to fight the teachers anymore who do not care whether my child succeeds. I am tired of listening to the gripes about how poorly he does or how awful his last state test scores were. I am not going to allow my child to spend his lunches in detention every day, because he did not finish his timed math test or because he did not understand the directions to the story he was supposed to write. When is punishing him every day finally too much?
I am tired of hearing that I am failing him because his reading level is not what they believe it should be. I am tired of filling my son’s nights with arguments over homework or hours of practice reading trying to get his “scores” higher for the teacher.
I am tired of him not being able to enjoy being a kid. Playing with friends after school and on the weekends because his workload has been doubled -- per the schools request. I am sick of hearing the threats of retention that make my son feel like no matter how much work he does it isn’t good enough.
We will continue with the help at home, the practice reads and struggles to help him understand. However, I will no longer allow them to make him feel like being different means he is broken.
Photo Credit: jlhopgood.
More from parenting