8.21.2006

Nerves

I am getting that pukey anxiety feeling that I get right before change happens. I have learned to trust that feeling. M starts first grade on Wednesday. I was fine with Kindergarten. She had two years of preschool with two-two and a half hour sessions a week. Upping the amount to five was easy. I also knew that she had the most fabulous teacher out there. Her preschool teacher had pointed out that M would thrive under Mrs. C's care. Thrive she did. I told Mrs. C that she had ruined the rest of M's academic career because she was so stinking WONDERFUL! Every other teacher will pale in comparison to her. I knew she was in good hands.

I don’t know that this year. I don’t know what kind of hands she will be in…and it will be a lot longer to have her be in someone else’s hands.

This year is a little different for another reason. I am NOT impressed with our schools first grade program. M originally had a teacher that was wonderful, however, she received a better offer and quit. They hired another teacher. I am nervous about this, but only because I don’t know anything about her. I think my main concern is that she is the ESL teacher. I worry that the non-English speaking needs will come before the majority. I don’t think that will happen, however, I do feel that I need to make an appointment with the principal to air my concerns.

Have I ever mentioned that M is highly intelligent, especially for being the youngest in her grade (seriously, her birthday is on the DAY OF the school deadline). She is reading chapter books and we have worked with her on her math extensively. Also, she is now showing a HUGE interest in science. How many kids that age want a chemistry set and a telescope for their birthday? Just last night we had to look up all of the planets on our online encyclopedia because she HAD to know what the temperatures of each of the surfaces were. I don’t want her to lose that. I also don’t want to have to have her come home and have to school her all over again. I am willing to work with her and I love to do it, however I don’t think it would be right to have her in school all day and then have to make her have school all night as well.

I am so panicked that I considered moving her to another school, charter school or home-schooling.

There is a girl in our ward that just received a first-grade teaching position at another school nearby, that is my first option. Obtaining a variance and having her placed in that school is my first and favorite option. I put M’s name in the lottery for two hard-to-get-into charter schools in the area (even though I would rather her go to her area school). I would home-school her for this year if I had the patience and knowledge, but I don’t think I am ready for that. Besides that, M is very social and I don’t think she would thrive with just me.

I will give it a couple of weeks and if I am not impressed, you will all know.


Sometimes it is so hard being the only advocate for your child.

25 comments:

Dee said...

I understand your concerns. My son has a few special needs and I am concerned about him going to K. However, I was even more concerned about the Speech/Language Pathologist at the school - because, though no one would tell me anything about her, they told me that if there were good things, they would be sharing them. I learned (through an acquaintance) that a lot of the time, kids complained she was on the phone during speech, thus using the kids' speech time to make appointments, etc. Anyhow - my sons preschool speech path. called me a few weeks ago to inform me that she (the SLP in question) would not be returning to our school. In her place would be a new girl who (she goes on to sing her praises) she knows!!! :)

Continue praying ------ this is the ultimate answer. And you are right - it is hard to be an advocate for your child!!!!

I will be praying!

Dee said...

one more thing - bloglines is awesome ( a few posts ago you commented on it) it does cut down my blog reading time!!!!!!! THANKS!

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Whatever you do, do it early.

I wish we had been more of an advocate for our oldest - trusting a little too much in the school system, we let him float along from teacher to teacher (I should add, crappy teacher to crappy teacher) and he didn't learn basic facts or skills... I wish I had known that sometimes you have to rattle cages over at school sometimes.

I was going to say, give her first grade teacher a chance and see how it goes. I'm impressed with all the great work you've been doing with her. :)

Char said...

Oh how I could have written this post! My #1 is a little smarty pants, too. You already know what a nightmare her teacher is. I'm at a loss. I've even tried to come up with a way to pay private school tuition this year. I'm afraid we're losing her love for school. I thought that volunteering in the class room might put my mind at ease, but it's only made things worse. Stay tuned here as well!

Valarie said...

that's a tough choice to make. I hope you find a solution you feel good about.

utmommy said...

Sorry you are having such problems. You have to go with your gut though. Stick up for your kids because no one else will. I hope all works out for M and you!

Dawnyel said...

I understand! If mama doesn't do it...it won't get done!! I'm the same way with Cam!!
I hope that your fears are alleviated with a surprize WONDERFUL teacher. If not...I really hope you can get her where she will thrive!!
Good luck!! We're all hoping and praying for you! :)

Glass Half Full said...

Oh, Stephanie, I just got back from kindy orientation and I feel as if I am sending Matt into the abyss! I am sure all will go ok, but still....

We will be strong!!!! :)

abc momma said...

Stephanie, I think you already know my passionate opinion of this issue. I'll spare you my rant.

There are a lot of social things you can do while homeschooling.

Nikkie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nikkie said...

She is very lucky to have some one to stand up for her like that! I hope everything works out. I'm not looking forward to the school battle for Boo!

Mrs. Darling said...

I know all about being my childs advocate. If you're interested you can go to my blog and read Tink Links for encouragement on advocating for your kids. Stay tuned to the school and go with your gut. Be prepared to change course in midstream if you need to. Keep us psoted on how its going!

smartmama said...

i hear you- i am a former 1st gr teacher- I will be honest to say the classroom doesn't always cut it-- i am kind of in the same boat- smart son starts k in 2 weeks (but he's probably mid 1st gr reading and late 1st/early 2nd in math)i was back and forth on the local charter- they ability group and pace- but use lame boring methods of instruction, looked private but was it really worth 12K? I have looked at homeschool to- (there are some great distance learning things for gifted kids)

I struggled with being bored, crossing grades- eventually skipped- my mom pushed like crazy to keep us challenged- but it paid off

do go to your principal ask what they can do- ask what accomodations to challenge, enrich, and accelerate- (if you want to talk about it more- or know better how to approach it with principal- you're welcome to email me- lgraff@charter.net)

if you all would just move to New england-we could get a great smarty kids co-op going-- we should get her together with smart son- who yes requested a microscope over any other "treat"

Brandi Ginn said...

I would definitely look into the charter school option. Specifically one with a core-knowledge based cirriculum. DH is on the board of directors for Alexa's school and he was head of the cirriculum comittee. Honestly, you're right to be worried. I hate to tell you but Utah is ranked one of the lowest in the nation for schools. (info from DH) and CO isn't much better. The 'older' school districts...like those back east are ranked the highest because they know what works--they've just been around longer. The learning curve for the district is less than out here in the west.

That's where charter schools are a better option because they (at least out here) are put together by parents who want something better for their kids.

Chappyswife said...

Oh, I feel your pain. This is almost the exact situation we have always been with my oldest son. I posted a little about it quite a while ago. He was so far advanced it was not even funny, and gradually fell back to where the majority is. I worked with him throughout elementary school, and last year was the straw that broke the camel's back. I just didn't feel it was fair for him to have to go to school all day, then have me teach him at home, on top of that with certain "teachers" getting paid big bucks and not doing their job. Notice I said certain teachers - not all. Anyway, sorry to take up so much space but this issue is so close to my heart, I feel your anxiety. I hope it works out for the best with your daughter. With you on her side, I am sure everything will be just fine - you may just have to try a few things to get to the right scenerio...

modernmama said...

Good luck Stephanie. I really hope you are able to work out a solution that will be best for your little girl.
She's lucky to have you as such a great advocate for her, and it will pay off in the end. I also think that speaking with the principal to see if there are options he/she might suggest or provide.

Amber said...

Yep, but you're the best advocate. View the situation and make the assessment in a few weeks after following your gut!

aquamarine said...

I completely understand. You just have to go with your gut! She's to important not too! Good luck.

Sabra said...

You and Char need to figure something out together, since your situations are pretty similarly crappy. We still have a couple of years before we face all of this. And frankly, I'm more worried about what K will do to his teachers than what they will do to him.

itybtyfrog said...

I understand how you are feeling. I sat down to do M's homework with her this week, and thought...."I just taught this same thing to my 3 year old for pre-school". It is aggrivating! Are there any "advanced" programs in your district? I know Nettie had her kids in one when they lived here. You might want to ask about something like that. I think I will be supplementing my children's education at home. I don't think I have it in me to home-school them exclusively, but I can try to keep them above the curve. Good luck with finding a solution that works for you and M.

Tori :) said...

You and I can feel pukey together. We just moved and the hardest thing about this move has been knowing my 2nd grader won't have the teacher we had requested at her old school. This teacher rocks!! When I let the teacher know we wouldn't be there, she offered to pay the fee for special permission and cried!! :( We need more teachers like that. Oh- also, last year I felt that my oldest son's teacher was not clicking with my son. I wasn't impressed with her at all and the 5th week of school we had him switched to another class. (Eventually 5 other students also changed classes!) He ended up having the best school year he's had to date. Go with your gut.

Mel said...

Advocating for your child is a struggle. I just had a meeting with the principal about switching teachers for my son and she wouldn't budge. Good luck!

beth said...

That's really hard. I hope you find a solution to work this out in a way that makes you confident in your choice - you are the best advocate she could get. I will say you might want to give this new teacher a chance. You never know.

LynAnne said...

I feel for you because I've been there. I have two highly gifted children (that word choice is not mine, and I’m not trying to brag). We've been battling the school since day one. As a result, one goes to the public school and my oldest is homeschooled.

My first suggestion would be to take the lead from your child. Is she happy about school? Does she look forward to going? Does she get along with her peers? If so, I’d watch and wait. While she probably will be at the top of the class, there is still plenty of room for learning. The ESL teacher might be an amazing resource. There is a school here where 70% of the students speak Spanish as their primary language. They are fully integrated into regular classrooms with bilingual teachers. If a teacher has an extremely bright student native English speaking student, she integrates Spanish into their daily lessons. For example, if the spelling words are too easy, she gives that student spelling words in Spanish. For reading, after they finish their assignments, they are given a bilingual book. Not only do these teach English, but they also teach children to read in Spanish – even as young as 1st grade. Furthermore, bright children are partnered with a Spanish-speaking child, which provides lots of opportunity for enrichment activities. They learn about a different culture and diversity and gain leadership skills and friendships that they might not otherwise be exposed to.

Oh, there is so much that I could say on this topic. I panic for the same reason you mentioned. What’s helped me is knowing what my options are. If you think you might be interested in homeschooling at some point, you should talk to others who do it. I think you will find out that you are more qualified than you think.

theresa said...

Good luck Steph! I'm sure I will be in the same boat come next year. As homeschooling is still teeter-tottering on my plate!