Monday, April 21, 2008

Oooh, What's That? Hey, It's A Serious Post.

The title is a warning for all you folks looking for something to laugh at. Today I'm not even going to try to make you laugh.
I'm tired. This week (even though it's only Monday), last week, the week before...well you get it...have been tiring. Not physically tiring, but emotionally tiring. Physically tiring I can deal with. Give me a field to plow and I'll plow it (as long as you pay me 50 bucks an hour. Hey, those are my rates, take 'em or leave 'em). What's harder to deal with is the mental drain that is Ro. She's been having math teacher troubles, and it is getting to us all.
At first we thought it was her, because Ro is an unusually shy kid and she sometimes has trouble with social interaction. She started refusing to go to school and wouldn't tell us why. She kept having temper tantrums that we just didn't think were normal for an 11 year-old, and she wouldn't do her homework. We talked to the head teacher before Christmas and she said it was basically Ro's problem. She would have to adapt.
We were pretty much at wit's end, forcibly dragging Ro out of her bed, dressing her, and taking her to school; until one morning I mentioned it to the mother of one of Ro's friends. She said that her daughter was also having a hard time. It turns out that the teacher, who happens to be the only math teacher for the fifth grade, is extremely strict, shouts at the students and humiliates them in front of the rest of the class. We tried solving the problem by talking to the school principal, who at first kept saying that the problem was entirely Ro's. He also told us that the woman's son had committed suicide about a year ago and that she was having trouble dealing with it. We sympathize with that, but having a whole class of terrorized fifth graders is not acceptable. Not much was done, and Ro has gotten worse and worse.
Now, after more parents have complained, it seems like they are finally going to do something. I can only cross my fingers and hope that they do, or we may be forced to report the school to the authorities for psychological abuse.
Unfortunately, even if the school does remove the teacher, it probably won't be the last time Ro comes across a person like that. So, we've started taking her to a psychologist to see if that helps her to deal with this sort of situations more effectively. The only thing they've told us so far is that these things take time. And at 90 euros a session, I'm sure they want it to take as long as possible.
Even though a big part of the problem is the teacher, it also seems like Ro is testing us to see just how far she can get. One of the days that she refused to go to school, I actually ended up taking Ro's bedroom door off its hinges just to keep her from slamming it shut all the time. And today she refused to go again, so I said, "Well, you can stay home until math class is over and then go." But she still refused to go, so she sat in the living room all day; and I had to sit and watch her so she wouldn't go off and start playing. She can stay home, but I'll be damned if she has fun while she's here.
She's promised me that tomorrow she'll get up and go to school...
I'll believe it when I see it, and if not, I'll be playing jailer again tomorrow. Brent at The Ominous Comma has tagged me for a meme, but at this rate I don't know when I'll get to it. Anybody have a laptop I can borrow?


  1. ugh, we have had our share of horrid teachers and this year we are dealing with a really bad one again.

    yes, you can feel bad that this lady lost her son in the way she did but if she is having trouble dealing with it let her take a leave of absence rather than passing all that hurt into her students.

    if it's any consolation i have resorted to removal of doors from hinges for excessive slamming too.

  2. We also have had to deal with horrible teachers...last year, though she is blessedly outside of my kids reach, and the gym teacher, last year and this year again. Jeez.

    I anticipate lots of trouble next year when eldest goes to the local IES...some of those teachers are roundly hated. Seems to be with reason.

    My deepest sympathies. For all of you.

  3. That totally sucks. I know a thing or two about taking out my crappy days on others, so I can see what Ro is going through with the door slamming and all, but I TOTALLY feel for you and your family in all of this. I hope it gets better soon.

  4. I recently had a teacher like that myself and it made me want to slam a few things too, but enough about that.

    We are with you in this journey with your daughter.

    Kids are all mysterious wonders and although we do our best, for good or bad we can never take full credit for who they become.

    Don't give up, eventually your perseverance, discipline, and love will pay off, it just might take a while to see it.

  5. Ouch. I feel for teachers, but at some point you have to begin noticing when many children begin having the same problems. I hope it works out. And good luck.

  6. I'm so sorry about the crappy teacher. What's worse is that it may color her outlook on that subject for a long time. I had a rotten chemistry teacher in HS and never took another chemistry class after that.

    And taking the door off the hinges...nice touch. I like your style.

  7. Poor Ro, I can totally sympathize because I had a horrible military style teacher in 5th grade too. I had a tone of sick days that year. One time the class was going to the zoo, but I decided I would rather stay home (and I didn't even think about animal rights yet in those days.) It was _that_ bad. That same year I was terrified of the bus driver, so I started walking home all the time. In my opinion it is likely that Ro is just very sensitive and will feel better when she feels like she has more control. I hate to think how this will influence how she feels about math. Have you thought of homeshooling (You probably think I am crazy to suggest it, but lots of people are doing that here now.) Maybe an art class would help her? Good luck at any rate.

  8. Hugs. You need hugs.
    Your daughter needs hugs.
    Something very traumatic
    seems to have happened
    (and being the parent, you
    might not know the
    complete story). Perchance
    you can work something out
    with the school (a tutor
    mayhaps?) or your therapist,
    but either way, share lots
    of hugs along the way.

  9. Thanks everybody. From the comments it looks like we're not the only ones to have suffered through this, and that I'm not the only mom who takes the doors off the hinges. The school coordinator has promised us a solution, so we'll be holding him to it.

    And, Michelle, I remember being scared of the bus driver too. I don't know if it was the same one, but he was horrible; shouting and threatening to turn the bus around. One day he did and wouldn't let us off, and I was pretty traumatized. Soon after, we were told he'd had a heart attack, and I feel bad to admit it, but back then I was glad. He just had us all terrorized.

  10. See? That's why I like you: she can stay home, but the door is off the hinges.

    I have no tolerance for bully teachers. They piss. me. off.

  11. That sucks. Can someone please explain me why the bullies are always the maths teachers?

    I think I stopped doing maths (other than calculating discounts at stores) ten years ago because of one big bully. Hope it goes better for your kid!

  12. Oh boy do I feel for you and Ro here. I'm sure that I had a bad Math teacher along the way because somewhere I just closed my mind to Math. Too bad because my daugther is now a math scholar so I think I might have been able to learn in the proper setting.

    You're doing everything possible for Ro and with your love and support, she'll get through this.

    PS: Thanks for the tip on the doors. Somehow I foresee needing this information. :)