4 Feb 2013

If you don't react, they will

I am not sure if I have mentioned here before how much Lily dislikes school but she really does. Yes, she is in the gifted program and yes she is a straight A student but she absolutely hates school. This dilemma has been ongoing for a couple of years. She finds it boring and unnecessary, redundant and a waste of time. She finds some of her teachers dull and others mean. She has friends but not one special friend, she is more the friend of all kids. She is a popular kid but not one to kiss butt so she will never be , "a popular kid" if you know what I mean. Everyone, and I mean, everyone, knows who she is because of her personality.

Recently she has been letting me know more frequently how much she dislikes school and we have been counting down the months until she heads to her new school. This morning when I told her it won't be much longer she looked at me and said, I don't want to go there it won't be any different, it is still Florida they still teach for the FCAT, there still won't be a break, I still won't be allowed to be me, it will be the same. And with that the tears started.

Once she was in school I emailed her teacher and 2 seconds after I hit send the school called to say Lily had a stomach ache and needed to be picked up. I knew instantly this was utter B.S. and I was pissed. I jumped in the car and headed to school. Sumi met me at the clinic and was all sympathy and I looked at her and said, she doesn't have a stomach ache. Sumi left us alone to talk and Lily looked extremely sheepish.

WTH? She is 10 and she is playing hooky? Oh no I don't think so. I told her that I strongly suggested that she get herself back to class immediately and that we would talk about it all later. She then said, Dad said I could go home! Again, WTH?

I bought her home. We sat together on the couch and talked, really talked for over an hour. I gave her paper and a pen and she wrote words that came into her head to describe her feelings about school. Then we brainstormed possible solutions and then to her utter horror I rang her teacher and the guidance counsellor. Both were in shock. Both said the same ting....but Lily is a straight A student and she is soooooo smart.

Uh, no shit sherlock, I know that.   It's not the work, it's the system. They were both very sad and immediately jumped into action. She loves her homeroom teacher. 3 conversations later and things are happening. Questions as to why I didn't do something sooner? Umm, well I didn't want to make Lily even more uncomfortable in school, retaliation is ugly.

The bottom line is this, certain things will never change. She has to go to school. She probably won't be challeneged enough because she is smart and she is already in gifted. Apparently it often happens that the smart kids get overlooked in classes because the teachers have to ask the other kids questions and can't just ask the smart ones but then they sort of forget about the smart ones. However there is now a plan of action in place and I am going to be spending a lot of time in the school in the next few weeks.

And as for playing hooky? Well lets just say I told her that if she ever, EVER, tries it again, I will be accompanying her to class and sitting next to her in the very next desk....for the whole freaking school year. The teacher and counsellor said not to punish her for it this time...I'm not so sure.

Lily feels so much better having got all of this off of her chest. She also now realises that she isn't the ony that feels this way amongst her peers but nothing can get resolved if she won't let me in. I went over her head today, not the first time of course, and she sees that I do know what is best. She knows Rome wasn't built in a day and things take time. Everyone is so shocked to hear that LILY feels like this. Maybe we opened some eyes on more than one level.

Just as in every profession there are good teachers and mediocre teachers and for the most part her school is filled with fantastic teachers but I think our county sends some the old elective teachers there before they reach retirement similar to how farmers send horses out to pasture.

9 comments:

val said...

Hang in there & stay strong!

Anonymous said...

This is a sad, but oh so true, story of so many children everywhere. I feel for you Lil. I played hooky more than once because I thought my school was not the best place for me. I now know that if I had gone to school and buried my head in the books I wouldn't just be me but a solicitor. Yes I could of actually made it but .... that's another story. I wish you luck with the changes that may happen and love you dearly, hang in there you will soon be off to pastures new. Love you xx CAS

Tammie said...

Oh Lily! How I fee I feel your pain! I was a year ahead of everyone my age & the only reason that I wasn't in what is now called the gifted class is because I was teased mercilessly over it. I loved the idea of school & homework but actually going was no fun at all. Of course, back then no one taught to a test.

Dawn, IMHO you did the right thing by bringing her home & just talking it out. I can't tell you how many tummy aches I had just because I couldn't handle it anymore. My parents were both teachers & just didn't get it. The good news is that the FCAT is gone in 2 years.

In the meantime, keep being the amazing mum you are, & Lily will eventually get it.

Vivian M said...

She obviously is not being challenged, and back in my day we skipped grades when that happened. (I was attending 7th grade classes but started and ended the day in my 4th grade classroom).
It's not about piling more work onto a gifted student, but about really challenging them so they want to learn, and are not bored to tears.
You did the right thing, and I hope the school figures out a way to help Lily so that she actually likes going there. Hoping the new school is better.

Briana's Mom said...

Poor Lily. That is tough. I am glad you all were able to have a heart to heart about this.

Briana doesn't love school. She likes it ok, but if she had a choice, she rather not be there. And she is smart, but I'm not sure if she will ever be a gifted student. She is super creative and I think that is going to be her path in life. So, if she isn't digging the 1st grade now, I dread what the future holds for us. :(

Candy said...

I'm so sorry that Lily is having such a tough time liking school. It's so important to like school, since there are so many years that need to be attended. I don't know what school Lily attends or will be going to, but are there "Gifted" Schools in your area? I know that there are in Broward that you need to be invited to attend. I hope that you're going to the school and speaking with them will make an impact on what they will do for Lily to make her want to go to school.

I'm so happy that Rachel likes school and has a wonderful teacher this year. Last year was an awful year for her of learning nothing. She was so bored and let it be knowm every day. We can only hope that she continues to have the best teachers that know that there are students that want to learn and excel quicker than others.

Lily, don't give up. Keep up the excellent work.

Joannah said...

This breaks my heart! Is she in a GATE cluster in a regular ed classroom? My previous school was a GATE magnet school, and there are six exclusively GATE classes there for grades 3-5 (two per grade level). Those kids have a modified and accelerated curriculum that includes an engineering mentor and a trip to astrocamp. They usually do a theater production, too. Anyway, I would think a program like that would be more fun and challenging for a student like Lily. Is there anything like that available in your district?

Anonymous said...

Take it from a Miami-Dade County resident, you should put her in private school if you can come up with the money. There are numerous EXCELLENT private schools in Miami-Dade. The private schools here are so good because the demand is so high due to many of the public schools either being TERRIBLE or being in areas where they are partially populated with troubled kids who couldn't care less about school. The private schools do not "teach to tests" because they don't have to, and many of them are quite good at handling the very bright students because they churn out a few students who go on to Ivy Leagues. Gulliver, Ransom Everglades, etc. are all great.

dawn said...

I agree with you about the private schools to a point but there are serious pit falls in those schools also. Ransome costs as much a a college so that one is out. Gulliver is a great school but not so great for gifted but fabulous for learning disabled.
Many of them also offer scholarships, Ransome included, Yep, I have done my homework and I appreciate you feedback.

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