Friday, November 09, 2007

(Rotten) apple for the teacher

Wednesday night, I went to see the psychologist who diagnosed F to talk about my 'issues' in dealing with the whole thing. The most concrete useful thing to come out of it was her suggested plan of action for dealing with F's teacher - to WRITE HER A LETTER of apology. Short, sharp, to the point. A way of avoiding me losing my cool again.

I did it and delivered it yesterday. Okay, it was delivered to her desk in an envelope, as she was away. Pretty much 'sorry for yelling, we have been through a very tough time as a family but that was no excuse, I hope we can return to working together for F's benefit'.

Today, I drew together all my courage and prepared to re-enter F's classroom to listen to kids read.

Dear little F was so eager for me to come back that he took it into his head to pop into the classroom and ask her 'is my mum welcome in the classroom?' and pop his head back out, shouting 'MUM! SHE SAID YOU'RE WELCOME IN THE CLASSROOM! COME IN!' as I sat on the benches outside talking to two other parents.

I spent Friday morning assembly talking to a friend, a mum with a kid in F's class, and another parent I'd never really met before, who - as it turns out - had same teacher for her sons, who have special needs and are on the autism spectrum. She loathed the teacher for the same reasons I do. Interesting. When I told her I'd lost my temper she said 'I'm sure you're not the only one. And if you were, she had it coming!'

After assembly, I slunk into the classroom. And the teacher, while perfectly polite in the words she used, was a complete and utter bitch to me. Flinty. Eyes like shards of ice. Shooting orders at me. A perfunctory 'thank you' at the end, said with no warmth or feeling whatsoever. And, instead of letting me call out kids in the order I choose, as I've done all year, she's told me that from now on I'm only to listen to the kids with the most difficulty, who actually need help. Not that that would really be a problem, in principle. It's the timing of the announcement. (And the fact that that means I can no longer listen to my son read, the reason I'm in there.) She wants to put me in my place. And to dissuade me from coming back.

Fuck her.

I got home thinking that was such an unpleasant and faintly degrading experience, I would never come back again.

But I'm not there for her, I'm there because F likes it. And if my presence makes her uncomfortable and she wants me gone, then I will not give her the satisfaction.

Only six weeks to go. God, I hate school.


gigglewick said...


I have just read your blog for the first time in ages (for I am a slacker).

What a crap time for you. My folks are teachers too and my mum in particular has spent a lot of time with Asperger's kids. She is the first to admit that it takes a lot of discipline - because you have to constantly readjust your thinking to encompass the literal nature of the world that some kids live in.

It sounds like you are doing the best you possibly can, and if the teacher can't accept that unless she interacts with F in a different way that encompasses his different take on things (and that he's not just being "naughty", which is how a lot people seem to characterise aspergers, particularly if they can't be bothered dealing with it) then she clearly doesn't have much compassion in her for the welfare of her students and their families.

I hope you have a good weekend, and try not to think too much about them.


elsewhere said...

Hmm, i was kinda pleased when you yelled at her the first time round. I thought it was pretty big of you to write her a letter, actually. But there's no changing some people, is there? They're just not decent human beings.

Can you get F moved into another class? She sounds awful.

Ariel said...

GW, thanks for the insights via your folks. It's interesting to hear your mum's perspective. I think you're right - it's a lack of compassion. I shall take a deep breath and try to not let her take up more time in my head than necessary.

Elsewhere, I have to admit it felt good to yell ... If there weren't six weeks to go and I didn't think it would be too disruptive at this time of year, then yep, I would change classes. And anyway, the other two Year 2 classes are taught by:

a) a great teacher, but with son of The Mother in her class (currently banned from playing with F by The Mother), plus another kid F played up with when they were placed in class together last year

b) the slapper princess teacher who got her class to perform Aqua's (quite sexually explicit) Barbie Girl at last year's school concert.

Helen said...

Yes! Yes!! Boychild was playing piano in I'm a Green Pea.

P, J and B absolutely rock. Although I was a bit annoyed with B for her announcement style. Every time she had a particularly young group on stage, she'd give a long wind-up about how difficult this was and how brave they must be to stand up in front of So Many People and how this particular song is particularly tricky... etc etc. If I'd been one of the kids I would have run screaming from the stage, but they were all so stoic.

James the drummer has won a scholarship to some music school I hear! Boychild told me about it and said "he's better than you!" Then he thought about it a moment and said "Almost as good." Just as well for him, bwahahaha.

Is the name of the nice teacher's aide J? I saw BV as well. BV was the teacher that really got my boy going after he'd been practically ruined by AT, who just didn't get him at all.

So cool to find a good blogger whose child goes to Boychild's school. Unfortunately I'm practically a stranger at the school now, as I work F/T. Maybe I'll find you at the breakup assembly and say hello!

Helen said...

Sorry, Ariel, that comment belonged on the Concert post not on this post.

eleanor bloom said...

As I mentioned in the other post. Some teachers are only interested in the profession because they get to be in a position of power. So now she's using that on you as well.

In your position I just know I would be exceedingly polite with her while actually having goes at her; but doing it so she has no reason to complain.
Stare daggers back and hold your head up high, you're doing bloody well at a difficult time. She's not worth thinking about too much. (Anyway, not long to go now!!) :)

Ariel said...

Helen, that is AMAZING! For some reason, I thought your kids went to FCPS. Hope I do meet you at the breakup assembly. I'll have to wear a carnation or something like that so you recognise me ...

Yes, the teacher's aide is J. She's brilliant. And yes, those intros were a bit annoying after a while. I felt sorry for the musicians, who were sidelined a bit by the focus on the singers.

F agrees that BV is great (I just asked him) - good to know. He also just told me that AT yells at him all the time. Helen, I suggest protesting hugely if Boychild is ever assigned JM.

EB, that's bloody excellent advice. I used to do that when I was a Customer Service Manager in charge of taking complaints and it worked a treat. A timely reminder.