Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thoughts on Middle School

I'm drafting this before I get any possible replies because I want to start with my own gut reaction, which is not surprised at all! The teachers said at Open House that they (most all anyway) will be giving him homework for Monday through Thursday pretty consistently. I can't tell you how many times I had him bring his agenda to me to make sure that he's keeping up and he hasn't filled in a darn thing. I told him that I want him to use the agenda just like last year, if there is no assignment then N/H should be in there for that class. After that he would come home, stand at the kitchen table leaning over his agenda writing N/H through most of the classes and then handing it to me. He also told me several times that the teachers don't check the agendas and they don't care if they use them or not. I'm starting to believe him.

So I've been the only one that gives a shit that he needs to keep things organized in order to be successful. If he can be that A student, then why shouldn't he be? How did less than the best or mediocre suddenly become so acceptable? His ADHD is a factor with him staying focused and being successful. I understand that the teachers are trying to let them grow into learning responsibility, but how do you go from full accountability to just telling them one at the beginning of the school year? The teachers used to make a 1-2 minute time for the kids to copy the assignment at the beginning of class. They used to check the agendas each week and make sure that the students had the parents sign off that they had 'checked' the daily assignments, or else I'd get an email. If everything was all set the kids got to go into a giftie box with pencils, pens and other little things including plastic squishy balls etc.

I'm not saying that they have to keep giving the kids that sort of incentive, but it sounds like they don't tell the student to write down the ssignment. I know for certain that one teacher never got a homework assignment from him and we found out 3 weeks later when progress reports came out. Too late to do anything about it other than a talking to about not letting it happen again. Too little, too late.

I've emailed every one of his teachers except for whoever he has for "flex" right now. I have no clue who that is because he hasn't shared that information and the school has sent us nothing to let us know. Yes, it's about time for me to email the school and get that information. I love email paper trails! One thing that they are showing already this year is the lack of response, and yes there are actual questions in them instead of just sharing information.

The woman that does the 'booster' class was very nice and showed me a few things about why the program exists and what the expectations are. He would have monthly opportunities to "test out" and back into the "regular" class, and she would get in touch with me after he tested. The contact that I got was the corner of a piece of notebook paper that had a number on it which he brought home from school one day last month. 163. Out of 169 which is the score that he needs to be above. He started out about 60 points under, so he is definitely gaining but what in the heck kind of contact is this?!

Daddy said that when he saw the report card the only thing that he said to Jabber is that two of those B's are minuses and that's very close to being a C. He'd better watch out for that.

I'm really disappointed in both of them. Yes, B's are not the worst grades but when you are capable of doing so much more with very little effort then why would you just say nothing about the difference in the grades? I think that by Daddy not even mentioning that he is capable of higher grades that he's also letting Jabber down. Jabber knows that a great deal is expected of him, or should be. I'm not just talking about him being the only male child to pass down the family name, but that taking shortcuts and being lazy doesn't get you as much as making an actual effort.

Aside from school I've been sayin that Jabber is taking too many shortcuts since early last spring and have been met with rolling eyes, at least it feels like it. His pediatrician seems to think we have an angel child here and that I choose too many battles. I think he needs a meds change, because I know that he has been that angel child when he was going up in meds. Then he got to a plateau and could give a crap about so many things. I've been to the promised land... It was great to be there and have so many things running smoothly! Why can't we keep that?

It's just not fair. Maybe if I never knew that things can be so good it wouldn't suck as much this way. But we have, and you can't take that experience back. Like losing your virg.inity, you can't go back! Isn't it unfair to Jabber? Daddy and I have talked earlier this year about expectations and ater I said that Jabber mightbe our one kid that actually has the grades to go to college Daddy told me that he doesn't see it hapening. He wants Jabber to pick a trade when he gets to High School and dig into that, because he doesn't have it in him to follow through with serious eduational endeavors. Now Jabber is a tinkerer. The kids that all the neighbor kids bring their bikes to if they need something tightened, replaced or worked on. He takes thing apart ALL the time and has gotten a bunch of things back together again. Not all, but we generally don't let him dig in until we hd no other recourse anyway! Things like math ome so easily to him. Science is a breeze. Sentence structure and vocabulary suck, but he's not the first person on the planet that has no interest in those!

I'm waiting for replies and then see how they fit into what I've already drfted here. Thanks for your comments on this one ladies!


It's Monday morning and I'm going to publish this as is. I got some comments and will come back and reply to each of them, but I worked an overnight shift last night and need to take this opporunity to get in a few hours of straight sleep before I blow my window of opportunity and end up with only2 hours of sleep for a three day period because I'm working the same shift again tonight! I really appreciate those of you tht commented on the previous post. did have a conversation with Daddy yesterday about how hitty I feel overll about both kid, but I think Icame out feling worse than when I started. Long story, but I'll tell you soon! G'nite!!


clevergirl said...

I work at a high school and every year the sophomores (we are 10-12) coming in have a tough transition time right at the beginning of the year. After being "coddled" and chased after in junior high (or elementary), it is a tough transition to move to a system that no longer does that for him.

The thing is that junior high (and elementary school) does teach them (in our district, and it sounds like in yours) the skills that they need to know, like writing down assignments in their agenda. It sounds like he has already learned this skill, but has always been forced to do it. Now that Jabber is in Junior High, it is HIS responsibility to remember to do this. The teacher cannot be responsible for making sure that he is being responsible everyday. While two minutes to check agendas may not sound like a lot, when there is a long list of things they need to know for district or state tests by a certain point in the year, time is precious.

This is just one of those learning experiences that he needs to...well..learn from. While a good section of the sophomores I get have their asses handed to them the first quarter, a great majority of them can easily apply the skills they learned in Junior High to high school.

He needs to learn to take responsibility for his own learning.

Mimi said...

I understand exactly what you're saying wordgirl and I believe that it's absolutely true in our case. I'm afraid that with Jabber's ADHD things he isn't able to figure a lot of things for himself and has to rely on Daddy making priorities and decisions about what to pay attention to. He would still be biting his shirts at the neck if I hadn't inisisted to Daddy and eventually gotten Daddy to set a limit that it is NOT okay to do that! Until Daddy put his foot down at about age 9 Jabber could have cared less. I've seen a bunch of kids have nervous little habits, but how many of those stop by about age 4?

Yes, he needs to learn to take responsibility for his own learning but I don't believe that he's capable of that. I can't think of any examples of anything that he's learned 'the hard way' that were just for his own growth, but always because Daddy has set a limit. Nobody else, just Daddy. I think that this is all ADHD related or maybe there's a little mixed in here about having Daddy be the only one that took responsibility or care of him for so many years (the first 4 at least).I hope that this makes sense.