Filed Under Parenting, Ranting 

What is it about the public school system? Why do they want every child to conform? Why can’t they see that some children need to learn differently than others? Why are children expected to behave in exactly the same manner? Why are differences in creativity smothered?

If they have programs for children with special needs, why can’t they adjust the curriculum for children whose skills are far beyond the lessons being taught in their classroom? In my opinion (which is worthless at best) gifted children *are* special needs cases. At the very least, they could skip the child ahead to keep her challenged. But that is not generally allowed either. Children must be grouped according to age. For some unknown reason, they think that putting a younger child with a group of older children at the same academic level is unacceptable. Chris said it best, “No child left behind means no child gets ahead.”

Have you seen the test for graduation from school in 1895? I’m willing to bet that the percentage of students graduating today who could pass is remarkably low. I know I can’t pass it. Schools are so focused on passing standardized tests, that they forget to make learning fun. Children are filed into a classroom, expected to sit still and pay attention and go over the same monotonous bullshit every day. For the students who have already mastered the days lessons, it is a painful, boring process. And what do young kids do when they’re bored? Well, I know what MY kid does when she is bored, and that is entertain herself. Unfortunately there isn’t much way for her to entertain herself in her classroom. Her notebooks and crayons are put away out of reach. Without thinking about it (because she is FIVE) she begins singing to herself or wiggling. And when a child demonstrates these behaviors the first thing school administrators and teachers do is jump to the conclusion that she is ADHD.

I can’t tell you how angry this makes me. Not because in some cases they are probably right, but because in this case, I told the teacher MONTHS AGO that my child was bored. And that this is how she behaves when she is bored. For example, if we take her to a restaurant and she is given a coloring sheet, she will happily color it until the food arrives. However, if we forget to bring paper and colors, or the restaurant doesn’t have special kids activities, she wiggles, and sings and tries to get up and walk around.

But ADHD is out of the question. Alexis can sit for HOURS and color. She can sit for HOURS and write a story. She can read a 150 page book to me in one go. I don’t think her attention span has any deficit at all.

From what I can understand, the reading lessons in her classroom consist of staring at a sight word on the overhead projector and saying it out-loud with the class for several minutes. Can you imagine how boring it must be to read the word “the” 50 times? Especially to a child who is starting to read chapter books to herself?

But according to her teacher, “It seems to me that being challenged is not so much the issue as is learning interpersonal/social skills”. What a load of crap. My child can carry on an intelligent and engaging conversation with an adult. “[S]inging the Good morning, Weather, Days of the Week and Month of the Year songs with the class [and] counting the number of days we’ve been at school on our number chart” is probably BORING.

But hell, what do I know? I’m just her mother.

** I’m half tempted to post the entire email thread here just to prove what an idiot this teacher is.


4 Responses to “Baaa”

  1. Helen | Pepperina Press on December 18th, 2007 7:52 am

    Rule #1 for helping children learn: don’t bore them. I agree, way too many people forget this.

    I also think they’re way too quick to look for some “problem” with the child when that child doesn’t conform to the adult’s preferred way of teaching.

    It’s sad.

  2. tyia on December 21st, 2007 11:32 am

    She sounds like an amazing child. I wonder if the teacher could just give her a special long term project that she could do with somebody else that may be at her same or similar level. In a classroom, there is always a range of about 10% above average, and 10% below average. It could be a simple project like a simple student book report tailored to her level. It would be an art project and literature project. She could even present it to the class at the when she’s done. This would give her valueable skills in doing reports, public speaking, and working with a partner. Since she loves books, this would be a good way to expand her comprehension skills and allow her to challenge herself at her own level. Usually when students are done with their work, they are allowed to work on other things. So during these times she could work on the project. Just an idea from a new teacher. I love your post and your dedication to your child. I sometimes feel like some teachers are stuck in a mind frame, not just being pressured and stressed from meeting standards and passing tests. But I always believe that if you think of the child as your ultimate goal, everything else will fall into place as it should. Because ultimately it is the child who matters in all the politics, tests, and numbers.

  3. koshka on January 1st, 2008 3:24 pm

    Just so you know, gifted is special needs.

  4. Amy on February 19th, 2008 3:33 am

    As a child I was identified as gifted, but there was little recognition of ADHD or learning disabilities at that time. Instead, I was “lazy” and at times “retarded.” A diagnosis would have made an enormous difference in my life and saved me a lot of pain.
    I was under the impression that there *had* to be resources especially for gifted children.
    You know your child, so I believe you when you say she doesn’t have ADHD, but her ability to color or read for an extended period of time has no bearing on the subject. Most kids with ADHD are fine when they’re doing something that absorbs them. I read in my room for hours at a time starting before I was in kindergarten. However, I frequently missed what people said, had problems with organization and sloppy homework and often had no idea what was going on in class (actually, I’m in med school now and that still applies but I work around it!) You might want to become more familiar with the diagnostic criteria: the knowledge will work in your favor whether your daughter has ADHD or not.
    I agree with you that there is too little emphasis on stimulating kids; however you can advocate for your child. I just noticed koshka’s post and she also says gifted *is* special needs: I think you ought to investigate your rights within the system.
    Your daughter is blessed to have a mother who will pursue her best interests.

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