Are you one of those proud mama’s sharing their kids straight A report card on social media for all to press to like & admire?
Yeah? Well, I can’t relate.
I’m in the section of mothers whose kid needs extra help with school. And for the greater half of my eldest child’s 3rd grade year, this frustrated tf out of me.
My son has been dealing with a problem bigger than the both of us. And because of my inherent inability to cope with the things that feel like stress, I neglected his needs.
I didn’t want to approach this with all emotion because I am his mother and he deserves better.
He deserves deliberate and meaningful action towards his struggle with ADHD. Not a mess of tears and tantrums that lead to no where. For a while, tears and tantrums sums up bulk of the action I had taken before deciding to put my big girl panties on, and face the ADHD beast like a woman.
As I type, I have finally scheduled a meeting with the assistant principal and my sons extremely agitated teacher. This teacher has been treating and grading my child unfairly, for reasons most likely related to my sons biological makeup.
Today, he was removed from this teacher’s classroom. We have completed 3/4 of his 3rd grade school year and I am just beginning to fight back against a teacher that I believe has labeled my kid unfairly.
But let’s rewind a bit, so you can understand how things escalated to this point.
what had happened was…..
In December I was asked to a parent teacher conference. At this conference the teacher alluded to the fact that Anthony has some obvious difficulties concentrating, staying focused, and controlling his impulses. My stomach churned. What the fuck is she saying?
The teacher reasoned that he could also have some dyslexia, as he is unable to copy verbatim instructions that are written directly in front of him. She used words like, “special needs” and “disability.” I fought back an ocean of tears.
What was the matter with him? Is he retar–nah, not my son.
I am the gifted child. I’m the child that never needed help in school. I had hoped that all three of my sons would be the same, but Anthony Jr. will probably never earn straight A’s the way that I did.
then my ego set in..
It’s easy to feel shamed of his struggles with school. We live in a society where sharing highlight reels of everybody’s life, including report cards are the norm.
Shame, fear, and panic led way to denial and I made excuses for him. “He’s just lazy.” “He’s not being challenged enough, so he’s bored.”
Hearing my sons name and “special needs” together felt like an attack.
An attack that I wanted shelter from, but I obliged her concerns and scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician. We saw the doctor one good time, but I decided not to follow up. The decision NOT to medicate would make a follow up both unnecessary and futile.
I mistakenly left things as they were. For a while, the stress and shame I felt from the possibility of my child being special needs pushed me to avoid the issues altogether. We literally did nothing and he continued to struggle in school.
I intended to do something eventually but not until shit hit the fan.
the shit has hit the fan.
Relations between my child and his teacher began to deteriorate–fast.
Week after week I was bombarded with written notices from the teacher about my child’s lack of concentration. Communication between parent and teacher is encouraged. BUT the rate at which I was being “informed” became more of a nuisance than anything else. This constant nit-picking at even the most mundane instances felt unnecessary, and intentional.
Throughout the course of the school year my son would come home and complain of being accused of stealing, repeatedly. In fear of placing additional strain on student/teacher relationship, I defaulted to my regular response of avoidance, and stalled on the teachers behalf.
BUT she fucked all the way up when she decided to take my childs personal property, and give it (a mechanical pencil) to another student. No evidence. No proof, the teacher was not an eye witness. It doesn’t matter that he had at least a dozen more of the same sort of pencils in his possession. Because the hyperactive, chatty, somewhat combative, nuisance is also a thief.
How many times will I have to ignore my child’s tearful complaints, and give the tenured teacher the benefit of the doubt? I have never been the kind of parent that believes their child is an angel and can do no wrong. But baby….there comes a time where not even the stallest of stalls could save a teacher from getting these—-phone calls to the district, and every single administrative power in the school about my son and his mental wellbeing.
I quickly stopped bopping to the woe-is-me, my child is special needs dance.
Where the fuck are the 72 sharpened pencils I sent in at the beginning of the school year? Teacher could have given little Susie one of those pencils instead of taking my childs personal property.
where we are today
He was removed from the class and we could not be any happier. The teacher has had me to deal with for a little over a week now. I’ve been in constant contact with the district and the administrators of the school.
Though it’s time consuming, stress inducing, I will willingly sacrifice my time and ego to get him on the right track for fourth grade.
Not only that, I have decided to actively embrace my son for the many gifted qualities he does possess instead of shaming, scolding and punishing him for the one (most non-consequential) trait he does not.
I’m a human who has dealt with shame and unworthiness her entire life and I’ll be damned if I or anyone else inflicts that kind of trauma on my little humans–I will always protect them fiercely in spite of my ego.
If a teacher decides she will bypass her duty to treat my son with fairness, regardless of her interpretation of what kind of child he is, she will have me to deal with. Periodt.
When you take the position of teacher to multiple children, you should posses a mental stamina strong enough to withstand the varying personalities of your students–including the difficult ones. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with a thumb twiddling mamabear like myself who has nothing but time to set administration and the school district on yo ass.
What do you think? Any teachers care to chime in on this, let me know in the comments.