Thursday, 28 February 2008

A Perfect Storm

I haven't written about why we decided to homeschool.

It all started the second week of school when our daughter came to us and said that her teacher called her a bitch. We weren't quite sure how to respond. Surely he wouldn't do that. We said that she must have misunderstood.

But then she continued to complain that he swore in class. She didn't know what the words meant (he swore in French) but she could tell from how he used them that he was swearing. Finally we asked her to write the words down and we took the list to a few people we know that speak French. They were appalled. The words were definitely ones not to be used in a classroom.

The teacher's response? She must have misunderstood. He would never say those things.

Ya right. Where did my kid learn those words then? The swear words weren't even ones that translate to anything offensive in English....they're all quite unique to the French culture. We weren't offended at all by the translation....but our French friends sure were wide-eyed when we brough the list to them!

The second concern was that he runs a very strict classrom. That is okay - except the methods he uses (intimidation, threat, etc.) just don't work for us. Stories of him railing children for their mistakes, of rattling desks, and of him grabbing and tearing up children's work began to haunt me. Jill was never the victim of one of his tirades - but she worried about when it would be her turn, and about the torture her friends were enduring. It was important to me that she knew that this kind of domination/abuse/rule isn't acceptable and that she did not have to stay in a place where this kind of abuse was occuring - even if it was school.

The last thing was that the teacher was rough with kids. He'd grab a kid by the arm, yank him our of his desk and drag him across the room. One day he apparently slapped a kid. Everyone in the room except the teacher and the kid says it happened (makes me worry about that kid).

I don't know how in this day and age this can be tolerated. I guess the problem is you have to either catch the guy in the act, or else the administration needs to believe the kids when they tell these stories. Neither of which has happened.

I do believe my kid though. She's always loved school. However, this year we were having to make her go to school after much crying and carrying on and complaining and emotional outbursts. I'm sure the teacher and the principal would have just labelled her as being an emotional pre-teen or problem child. I don't think she's either. My analysis is that her reaction is a normal reaction to a situation where she is intimidated and abused.

I read a blog entry today that really got under my skin and set me on a soap box. Apprently we're not alone in this idiotic situation.

The trouble in Jill's class continues. I rarely go to the school without someone approaching me to ruminate with me on the odd behaviors of this teacher (although now and then it seems like some like to embark on a lecture of sorts about how despite one bad class, how wonderful the school is...I have found those quite entertaining. I have to wonder who they're trying to convince). One child has been moved to another class. That child has a parent not afraid to question things....interesting story. Then there is the parent who is concerned about the frustration her child is feeling having to be in the classroom every day. He demonstrating rage that is cause for concern. There is also a child that is having trouble with incontinence because she is afraid. Who knows what else is going on in those children's lives.

....and they stay

Why? Why would anyone continue to have their kid go through that?? I guess some don't realize the choices they have.

There are options. Maybe people are just afraid of change. Maybe they're intimidated by the teacher...or by the principal. I don't know. Maybe they just feel like they can't make the change for whatever reason.

I don't know. I really don't know. All I know is with the heartache we've had over losing Destiny and with the emotional stress she's going thruogh with this teacher - we're making a change.

1 comment:

Erika said...

Wow, I really had no idea that this kind of thing could be happening. I have been researching and seriously contemplating homeschooling and my kids haven't even started school. I'm glad that you as a parent aren't afraid to take action. Great job!