Three years ago when my daughter started kindergarten, I never thought I’d be where I am now. We moved to one of the best districts in our state when my eldest was one year old, assuming that we’d just enroll her in the district, no problem, game over.
It was far from that easy. We had many false starts, painful teachers conferences, and blame doled out by the spoonful, but mostly heaped on my child. She suddenly hated school. I remember vividly during thanksgiving break in Kindergarten her telling me she wished she never had to go back. I was flabbergasted, I mean, when I was in kindergarten I remember it being lots of fun, and pretty easy going. I was at a loss about what to do.
By the time the end of the year rolled around, and a few rather significant “incidents” took place, I was at a complete loss as to how we could have ended up with a child who came in to kindergarten reading and was leaving as one of the “problem children”.
I moved her in to another district, in another school, she had friends there, it was a very nice community. I was hopeful.
That lasted until about October conferences. There was a personality mismatch between my daughter and her teacher, and while my daughter tested nearly off the charts, I was still told that she was “talking too much” and “causing trouble” I put those phrases in quotes because most of what the teacher considered “problem behavior” I honestly ascribe to the fact that she was six. I don’t know that many six year old kids that when bored in the classroom just sit there anyway.
I was never really given other explanations for “causing trouble” other than she would sometimes blurt out the answers. Granted, that’s not always ideal for a teacher, but again, I’m not sure I’d qualify this as completely atypical for a six year old.
We somehow got through that very painful year with a teacher who my daughter knew didn’t like her, and frankly there was no love lost on her end either.
Now in third grade we got a spectacular teacher, she was dedicated to her kids, let them express innovative, creative ideas within the constraints of a classroom setting, and I thought “Whew, we’re in the clear.” No such luck. My daughter began coming home telling me she was bored. As a mother that is one phrase that I despise and I would tell her that bored was a choice. Little did I know that she was asked to sit at her desk quietly after finishing her work ahead of almost everyone else, and just wait, and wait, and wait. Eventually, she began sneaking a book and reading after she finished all her math lessons, but that was quickly discouraged and I was told at conferences under no uncertain terms that she was required to sit there and wait until all the other children finished their work. I’m not sure that ever really happened, and again, I was told she was disruptive in class. I asked her about it, and I asked her to try to give me a measurement of about what percentage of the time she felt like she was waiting for other kids to finish their lesson. She looked at me and said, “Oh you know, only about 90-95% of the time.”
Yeah, I was an unhappy camper. Around this same time I received a note from the district letting me know that my daughter had taken the state required tests, and that since she scored in the 99 percentile that she would be placed in to the “Gifted and Talented” program, oh which she had been participating in a few hours a week through her time at this school.
I was unimpressed by the options, so I again began looking. What we found is what has started this journey and is the impetuous for my to write this blog to connect with other families going through similar situations with their children. I would love to hear from you.