A schoolie question – stuck between a rock and a hard place

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of fanbrits johnson fanbrits johnson 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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    Profile photo of Bec Bec 

    Hi all,
    I have a school question regarding my 7 year old boy. Frankly, I have the shits big time with his school and I don’t know what to do.
    We live in an isolated area. There are only two schools in the area: the school where I work which is all indigenous and the one which my son attends. I am studying teaching full time and my partner and I also work as teacher aides. The school where I work is ruled out as an option for my boy for various reasons. Some may think this is racially motivated, but it’s more to do with cultural differences, academic achievement, and behavioral issues that I can see he would either become a part of or become a victim of. I love the kids and I love the school, but it’s not right for him.
    He has always been a rambunctious handful. He’s high-energy, likes to show off and needs constant attention. He is also very awesome because of the same reasons. Ever since he started at the school (which is very small- 30 kids from prep to year 6), we have had constant reports of misbehavior. We are fairly stern parents and we have tried EvErYtHiNg to stop him mucking around. Bottom line is, he acts before he thinks and gets very excited about school.
    This year has been particularly challenging. At the beginning of the year, the principal told us after a visit from the guidance counsellor that she wanted to have him tested for giftedness. This was news to us, we knew he was doing work above his year level, but gifted? We were sceptical. We expressed this to the principal, and she seemed a bit shocked we weren’t convinced. She assured us she believed he was gifted and in the 99th percentile consistently for english and maths. She wanted to have him IQ tested for giftedness. Anyway, we were ok with it (still skep tho) and OK’d the test. All went quiet. I asked the principal about this a month or so later and she said the new guidance counsellor wasn’t qualified to do the test, but hopefully would be by the end of the year. She also told us he had picked our boy out of the kids because he displayed gifted tendencies, but the cousellor later told us that she had pointed him out and suggested we had asked for it! Not. true.
    Anyway, we let it go. Ongoing is the constant daily reports about behaviour- calling out, getting out of seat, etc. Nothing bad bad. Just being a little shite really. Ongoing is us trying to curb this behaviour ranging from bribes to threats and all in between…
    One day a male parent was at the school. His kids were home schooled but came occasionally. He was just hanging around in the classroom all day and wittnessed my boy’s (and a number of boys in the class’) misbehaviour. He took it upon himself to swear at and threaten him during lunch break. My boy was scared and upset. His dad and I were FURIOUS. Only at our request was he banned for 60 days, then he was allowed back. We didn’t like this at all, but apparently there was nothing they could do about it. The next term, his wife (a teacher, he used to teacher aide at a different school) was given a job at the school which included a house and their own personal fucking gate to the school. Nice to hear they took our worries seriously (we were concerned he was a loose cannon and would lose it at another kid. We also felt our son should feel safe at school). We weren’t too happy, but graciously got over it and moved on…
    Principal tells us she wants to move our boy to the senior class. Partly because of behaviour (bigger kids, better role models,) and partly because he was soooOOOOooo smart he could keep up with the work. We were very hesitant but agreed.
    Principal leaves. New principal is our boy’s old teacher from junior class. New teacher in junior class is wife of crazy man.
    I had meetings with principal and snr class teacher a few weeks in about our boy being in snr class. They tell me he really struggles to sit still and focus. They tell me guidance counsellor has recommended we test for ADHD. I am sceptical, but if it’s really hindering his learning and he’s physically struggling to concentrate it might be for the best to test him. Aparently he’s not sooooOOOOooo smart now the old principal has left. He’s back to doing y2 work, but in the snr class. They will pass on a questionaire about his behaviour we fill out for home and compare with school behaviour for the ADHD thing.
    Me- 9 months of lying awake worrying by now.
    I decide to come in and sit in class with him for a day, because he’s pretty good at home. He acts differently at school. I want to see if his behaviour changes when mummy is in the room. I believe this will tell me a lot about whether or not it’s ADHD or if he’s putting it on.
    I go to the school and sit in for a day. I don’t interfere, I pretend to not look at him much. I just keep quiet up the back. He doesn’t know why I’m there.
    He’s a little angel all day. So he can control it, and he’s choosing to be a little shite. He knows what is expected of him and because I’m there, he’s good.
    The ADHD thing has never been mentioned again.
    At our request he’s gone back to the junior class for the last term and he seems much happier. Crazy man’s wife seems to be a pretty good teacher.
    Our boy continues to get into trouble for things.

    Ok…… so now. I know I’m a mum and have rosy colored glasses, but we have genuinely been on the school’s side with all of this and have really tried to back them up with his behaviour. The main problems are calling out, getting out of his chair, generally being distracted and a nuisance. He’s trying really hard, but he still messes up. We have tried diet, fidget toys, reward, punishment. We have really tried a lot.
    I really can’t help but feel tho that they have him pidgeon-holed and he’s that personality that always gets caught while others don’t. I know there are quite a few problematic boys at the school and they all bounce off each other.
    The school has rewards days every second friday. If they get 3 strikes over the fortnight, they don’t get to participate. My boy had no strikes (for a fortnight is quite an achievement), but got into a wrestle with some other boys at lunch on the day. They all missed out.
    He missed out again recently. Him and another friend. That’s ok, he knows the rules, but I really find it hard to imagine those two are the only ones who miss out when I KNOW the other kids play up just as much or more. It seems like they always try to make an example out of him. Punish him because his parents care, and don’t bother with the kids who’s parents don’t…
    The school gives out awards fortnightly. This school does not award for academic achievement, so it’s stuff like ‘showing persistence’ they get awarded for. My boy rarely gets anything. He does, however do his homework every week. The reason they do homework is so parents and kids can engage and work together with school stuff. When in the snr class he was given y4 homework. It was hard. We helped. He cried. We pushed. He worked hard and he did a great job. I think the teachers thought his dad had done it all for him. Not true, but he got help because it was year4 work! They gave him an award with his DAD’S NAME ON IT!!! It was addressed as: Jimmy Jones (and John) for doing a great job at homework. Am I wrong in thinking that is a bit sick? Were they trying to be funny? He finally gets an award and has to share it with his DAD! WTF?! He was let down. You could tell he was a bit sad about it.
    We didn’t say anything, but we were pissed…

    So now I am just OVER IT. I feel he has been tarred with a brush he can never escape. He used to be so proud of himself for being smart and doing good school work, but that’s all gone now. I’m so angry they have tried to slap two labels on him in the same year but neither have ever been followed up. I’m mad about how little they seem to care about his feelings.
    When I observed him for the day at the school I left disgusted. I know just because I’m studying teaching I’m not an expert, nor do I pretend to be, but I know what I’ve learned and observed at other schools. This school is very laid back. There were no rules or expectations reinfoced. There was no routine. It all felt very casual, with kids on rolly office chairs spinning around and eating fruit while they were supposed to be learning. They say he has trouble focussing, but then a boy wants to watch a killer whale dvd in the last 20 minutes of maths, so it gets put up on the big screen right in front of him while he’s still trying to do his work. There is very little respect expected of the teachers, and the principal’s own kids are fucking horrid little monsters. I walked away knowing what they were trying to achieve (Child-centered learning), but knowing it wasn’t the right school for our boy because he needs structure, boundaries and reinforcement.
    Also, the guidance counsellor loves to talk to my partner about him when he sees my partner at work at the other school. Instead of having a meeting, he’ll just tell him something in the photocopy room within earshot of everyone else. The other day he told me partner he’d done a vocabulary test on him, but got called away with work matters for that school and never got back to my partner about it. The school has never even mentioned the bloody test. We still don’t know what the outcome was or why he was given it!
    I so badly want to send him somewhere else. I am so mad and sick of the school and the constant behavioral updates. Sometimes they are just ridiculous. In y1 he got a yellow note home because he spat a mandarin seed at his friend for fucks sake.
    I feel they are missing a big part of who he is, and focussing on behaviour has made him miss out academically and lose a lot of confidence in his intelligence. I’m not saying he’s an angel and that they’re picking on him for no reason, but if we can make him behave at home, and there seems to be a pattern of naughty boy behaviour at that school, maybe they should have a look into their practices.
    The next school is an hour and a half bus trip away. That’s 3 hours of travel a day. The school is bigger. I don’t know if it’s better. I don’t know if it would help him or make him worse.
    I really don’t know what to do, and this is where I need your advice.
    Really grasping how I feel and all the goings-on is hard and I’ve well and truly typed enough!
    I would love to send him somewhere else. If it was that simple I would have by now. The only option is an hour and a half away.
    Am I just being over protective?
    I know he’d make friends easily, but I worry it’d be the naughty ones because that’s the behaviour he gravitates towards.
    I fear talking to the school about it wouldn’t help. We’ve talked, and talked and talked…. Sometimes I worry they think I’m reading a txtbook and then telling them what they should do (not true). I feel if I said how I felt they would take it personally, and I’m certain nothing would change.
    He’ll be in year 3 next year. Is it too long to be on a bus?
    What would you do?
    Any advice would be so greatly appreciated. Thankyou so much for reading my essay!

    Profile photo of Seb Seb 

    woah. Ok- that took me two sittings to read! What a shit of a time you are having. On the surface the obvious solution would be to change schools, but it is clearly not that simple. I really have no advice for you. The school seems to be letting you down. You are doing all the right things, being proactive in trying to work around any problems.

    The bus my daughter takes to school starts its daily route out of town so those kids would be on board a similar time to what you are talking. I’m not saying whether it is right or not but just that there are kids that do this length of a trip daily. Its a big commitment for you and for your son. A decision only you can make. It would be preferable for him to stay where he is but you certainly have a heap of issues to work through. Good luck with it all.

    Oh, and that parent, the cranky asshole, he SHOULD NOT be allowed at the school. Especially if his kids don’t even go there, he certainly shouldn’t be in class. That is such a strange situation.

    Profile photo of Bec Bec 

    Thanks for your feedback 🙂 Crazy asshole is allowed in the school because his kids were part-time attendees and he was there when they were. Apparently they can’t legally disallow a parent of a child into the school – even if they swear at and threaten to ‘smack you and your dad’ to a 7 year old. Now his wife is a teacher, they have a house at the school so he’s there 24/7. He has never tried to apologise. My partner approached him and called a truce, and lately he’s been chatty and friendly like nothing ever happened. So we have had to get over it really.
    Yeah, it’s a tricky one. Just wish there was someone professional I could talk to about this stuff!! It’s so hard to know what to do and whether or not im just overreacting.
    Thanks again for your reply 🙂

    Profile photo of Seb Seb 

    *IS* there someone professional you can talk to? Even at the school where you work? You don’t necessarily have to talk to someone there (I wouldn’t purely because I would want to keep my life separate) but surely they can recommend an authority for you or point you in the right direction. Or maybe there is someone on staff there that you trust enough to get advice from.

    Profile photo of Lisa Lisa 

    Not helpful I am sorry, we have a parent banned from school grounds for twelve months for such behaviour as horrid guy.
    I hope the answer comes swift and benefits your child for the better!
    Shit attitudes and or clicks, schools that reinforce shitty behaviours handed down by our leading adults.

    Profile photo of fanbrits johnson fanbrits johnson 

    Been there. My kids are grown up now, but once their grades started to get better and better. And then I found out about some https://fastessay.com/ and realized they’ve been ordering essays for weeks. I was so mad. School can be tough but don’t worry about it too much. Go with the flow

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