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Monday, October 18, 2010

A lesson in advocacy or Not Pleased part 2

Remember how I was not very pleased with Graeme's language arts teacher last week?  Well, this morning I was helping in his class and this same teacher came and asked me to stop by and talk to her before I left.  I of course did and you can just imagine my surprise when she apologized for not emailing me back and informed me that she agreed with everything I had said.  Apparently one of the 3rd grade teachers (who has been teaching a long time) is calling the shots on the 3rd grade team and the other teachers just go along with what she wants.  Also, Graeme isn't really THAT bad in class and she's happy to start sending him out for recess.

I was relieved and grateful, but here's where the lesson comes in:  she thanked me for saying something because she didn't really agree with this other teacher but none of the parents had ever said anything so she just stuck with the status quo.  Having been a teacher, I understand that my child's teacher isn't always his best advocate.  She hasn't invested as much time and money into him as I have, she's got 32 other kids to worry about and she will NEVER love him as much as I do.  I am his BEST advocate and I'm so glad I spoke up!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An athlete's heart

Yesterday I had my annual go to the doctor to be insulted, poked, prodded and drained dry appointment.  I have hypothyroidism so I have to have a blood test every year and my doctor insists on a physical even though I'm pretty sure she hates fat people.  Maybe she's just doing it for the money. Hmmmmm.....

Anyway, I was really not looking forward to going because I've gained back 20 of the 40 pounds I lost last year and didn't want to hear any snarky comments from my beloved doctor.  I was also a little worried about my blood pressure since I'm gaining weight again.  The thing is, I do strenuous aerobic exercise 4 to 5 times a week as well as walking 3 to 4 times a week.  So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when my resting heart rate was 52 bpm (excellent, by the way) and my blood pressure was 120 over 70 (exactly where it should be for a woman my age).  I think the doctor was a little surprised, though, because when she finished listening to my heart and breathing she said:

"Oh, you have the heart of an athlete!"

I think I said something intelligent back like:  "well, um, yeah, um I been exercisin"  (You have to remember, this is the same woman who once told me that I should just go lose some weight if I wanted to feel better.)  Now, I know she was referring to my fantastic blood pressure and heart rate readings, but being of a philosophical bent I choose to believe that she meant I have the "heart" of an athlete.  Where "heart" is referring to that rare quality of perseverence and dedication that truly exceptional athletes have.  Does this mean I'm destined to become a truly exceptional athlete?  Has my excessively compassionate doctor started me on the road to the Iron Man triathlon?  Maybe not, but thinking about my athlete's "heart" made jogging on the treadmill this morning at the gym just a little bit easier.  And I dislike my doctor a little bit less today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not pleased!

Here's reason #7,632a why I'm not pleased with our elementary school:

Graeme hasn't been bringing home homework.  He kept telling me that he was completing it at school but his main teacher called me last week to tell me that he was missing homework assignments.  I was pretty upset and asked her to please send the missing work home and not keep him in at recess to complete it.  I didn't see any homework.  So I told Graeme no more electronics until he started bringing home homework.  Still no homework.  So I was checking the kids' grades on Powerschool yesterday and he had a whole bunch of blank scores.  I of course emailed his teachers and asked what was going on.  His reading/language arts teacher replied that she's been keeping him in at recess to do missed work and oh by the way Graeme is the only student who complains that she's going too fast and he's disruptive in class (makes noises) and he's very bright but she thinks he thinks that he can just slide by and doesn't have to do the work.  Also, (according to her) it's 3rd grade policy to give a zero for late work.  In other words, even if the kids do the work, if it's turned in late they get a big fat zero and besides (again according to her) Graeme won't bring anything home anyway so what's the point in trying to send work home?

I was speechless.  First of all, why hadn't she contacted me sooner?  How long was she just going to let Graeme fail?  Second, how has she not made the connection between no recess and Graeme's disruptive behavior?  Hello!  He's an 8-year-old boy who can't hardly sit still when he's doing something he enjoys!  He doesn't enjoy school, he's still having problems with bullies, now his teacher is being hostile AND he doesn't get to run around outside.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand why this is a problem!  Third, has she ever sat down and talked to Graeme?  He doesn't like doing homework (who does?) so he doesn't bring it home (plus he's pretty forgetful).  There is no malice or forethought involved in this.  I'm pretty upset about this because this is the teacher Chloe had for 3rd grade and she was wonderful with Chloe.  So I was very excited that Graeme would have her at least for part of the day.  I guess I shouldn't have been.

I did get an email from his main teacher telling me that she doesn't take points off for late work (hmmmm, 3rd grade policy, eh) and she would start Graeme on a tracker (paper that he has to bring home every night) if I'm okay with that.  Okay with that?  I was jumping for joy!  A teacher who's willing to help!  Who knew?  Did I mention that this is his main teacher's first year teaching but his reading/language arts teacher has been teaching for at least 4 years?  Why is the new one so much more willing to solve this problem than the experienced one?

Grrrrr!  Like I said, NOT PLEASED!!!