I've been trying to update all evening, but Declan has been sitting next to me on the couch and peering over my shoulder at every Web site I've surfed tonight. Eamonn is away riding the 24 Hours of Moab (24 hour mountain bike race--yes, he is mad) and the boys and I are hunkered down watching a movie and listening to sleet on the windows. Tonight is supposed to be our first snow at this elevation and we're under a winter storm advisory. The Denver news channels were calling for 4 - 8", but Weather.com, which is frankly way more accurate, is only estimating an inch or so. No big deal. Although I'm ready for some snow, it's probably good that it's not a major storm because I don't have my snow tires on yet.
We're sitting here watching Return to Witch Mountain, the very lame sequel to Escape to Witch Mountain. In this movie, Tony and Tia return to earth and Tony is captured by evil-doers who are trying to steal plutonium. The only improvement I see over the original is that Tony and Tia are no longer wearing those burgundy colored nylon windbreakers snapped all the way to their chins. I lobbyed for the original Escape to Witch Mountain, but was voted down.
So, I couldn't update with Declan peeping over my shoulder because I don't really want him to see my ranting about Finn and school. We had our meeting on Wednesday and it really confirmed our feelings and we are scheduled to meet with the principal on Tuesday about moving Finn. Finn's anxiety issues continue and this just can't go on. He's going to have a nervous breakdown before he turns 6 in 11 days. Nice.
As Eamonn and I were getting our ducks in a row for meeting with Finn's teacher, we talked about what our objectives would be. As Eamonn described it, we decided to "gather data." We didn't go to confront the teacher or get in his face, but we did want to hear from his mouth what was going on in the classroom. By his own admission, he is a 22-year-old man (even younger than I thought) who doesn't have a "warm fuzzy" personality. His words. He's not going to hug the kids or work to console them. They're pretty much left to their own devices.
Sadly, I had Finn's preschool friends here for our once-a-month playdate on Friday. One of the little girls from preschool is also in Finn's class and her mom told me she has been crying at school, too. So it's not just Finn, and it makes me sad that many of them in there are struggling.
Other comments by the teacher: he's struggling to have patience and not get angry, he's actually getting more cold (how can THAT be possible???) as time goes on because he feels like they should be "getting it" by now. Oh yes, heaven forbid we should give a 5-year old more time to "get it."
The teacher also spoke about how it drives him crazy because Finn and another girl keep coming up to him and talking to him constantly and don't seem to have the patience to wait to talk to him. It's always so nice to hear how your child is driving someone crazy. Sometimes he needs "space" from Finn. Or how about when your child was crying last week, instead of consoling him, the teacher told him to "dry it up." Nice.
We were unamused to hear about how the discipline methods have changed in the classroom. Originally there was some sticky note method where when they got a warning, they had to put a note on their number at the front of the class. Finn had said that he had to sit cross-legged facing the wall. We wondered if that was true. It was. And a little more. Not only do they sit like that facing the wall, they have to keep their backs straight--no slouching. If they slouch, they get in more trouble. Unfortunately, a symptom of many kids with sensory disorder is that they don't have much core strength. We're working on it so that he'll have the necessary muscles to sit at a desk and hold a pencil as required, but that will be slow to develop. Basically, sitting like the teacher was requiring was impossible for Finn which led to more discipline problems. I just love a good viscious circle.
I'm sure it's hard. I'm not a teacher because I know I couldn't handle being in a small room with 22 little people all vying for my attention or commiting various acts of chaos. And from the description, it is chaotic in there. He's a first year teacher who hasn't hit his stride yet and is still trying to find out what works. I get it. Totally. And your average kid might be OK in there, just sort of rolling along. But it's not working for Finn--nor will it ever work for Finn. Too much water under the bridge at this point. Finn is never (and yes, Mom, I'm going to do exactly what you said I should never do, I'm going to say NEVER!) going to forge the kind of bond he needs with the teacher to make it work. The only option left is to move him and see if that can salvage Finn's relationship with SCHOOL.
Nope, I'm not a teacher. In fact, when I took one of those future employment aptitude tests in high school, it said I should be a forest ranger. Totally serious. I wish I would have done it and then perhaps I would not be a writer who waxes poetic about the latest FASB pronouncements. Kidding. I like what I do, but I do think I would have been a good forest ranger. My point here is that I wonder what the teacher's aptitude test said? Prison warden? Or at the very least, 4th grade teacher.