Just as a warning, this is a long post. There are some feelings I've been going through that I just really needed to express to my loved ones. And because I feel better when I write, I thought sharing them with you would help me sort through my feelings. But you've been warned...it's long.
...There are lots of things always changing and ongoing at our house. Between school, Girl Scouts, church, Showbiz, piano, the girls' ExtraCurricular activities (gymnastics, personal art classes, hip hop dance) and their ever-growing circle of friends (who always feel they are attached at the hip and have to include each other in every move they make! I don't remember being that kind of 'Tween, or teenager. Maybe I was. Mom, was I?), we're used to change. Ya...it's exhausting. But we get through it.
And it's fun.
And we love our life.
Or I thought we did. But like everything, things come that we need to reevaluate how we're doing things and if we need to make a change. So ya, change is coming...(And before anyone freaks out, there is nothing like divorce, or death or anything like that that I'm talking about.)
Change is coming to our household. It's a bittersweet change. And I don't know why, but as I sit and type this, my heart hurts.
This is what it is...I've decided to bring the girls home from school and teach them through the rest of the year. Yup! We're homeschooling. But I'm not doing it because of my belief in homeschooling,which was my reasoning for doing it before.
It's because the situation at school has gone from bad to worse.
And this is what the girls want.
And have been begging for.
Because they come home in tears almost every day because their teacher has, once again, degraded them, belittled them or screamed one too many times.
It has slowly gotten worse. It wasn't like this at the beginning. I thought their teacher was great. But boy, she sure did know how to "snow" the parents. When we're there, it's great and happy and hunky dory! But the minute we leave, the kids are shouted at, given F's, and have their recesses taken away (against the law, btw)...and the good kids get punished for the bad kids' actions. They're punished whether or not it's because the whole class has done something, or one kid didn't turn in their homework. Last time she took it away from October through Winter Break.
She gave it back at the beginning of the year.
And now it's gone again.
And they then spend their recesses writing five paragraph essays on why they can't stand still in line correctly. Whether it's because one kid was tapping his toe, or because another one was late running back from P.E. because he forgot his sweater on the basketball court. Everyone loses the recess time.
The first part of the year, the girls complained about it, but were adamant about not leaving because they didn't want to leave their friends.
Come January 6, their first day back from Winter Break they said, "Ya, it wasn't so bad. We'll stick it out."
Come January 15, their comment was, "Mom, I think we want to start being homeschooled."
Come January 20, Xoe came home as quiet as can be with a very sad, and very large frown on her face. She wouldn't tell me what was wrong, even after much prodding and encouraging. Finally, Xanthe broke the silence and started tearing up while telling me all about how their teacher is horrible. And how she yelled at Xanthe for not hearing her when she was supposed to turn in her homework and told her she could give it to the teacher at the end of the day. Which at the end of the day, the teacher adamantly refused to take it and gave her an F.
(By the way, it is REALLY noisy in their class too and I've been there. Instructions are hard to hear and everyone seems to talk to Xoe & Xanthe about everything, even when they are taking a test. So the girls get in trouble a lot for other people. One time I had to tell a kid to leave her alone when Xanthe was taking a test on the computer. The girl just kept saying, Xanthe, Xanthe, Xanthe, Xanthe. Xanthe just covered her ears and told her to go away, but the girl wouldn't. Xanthe was so frustrated but hates telling people off. I'm getting mad just thinking of that scene that went on. But of course the teacher doesn't know how to keep these kids under control and create a good learning environment)
And then Xanthe proceeded to tell me how she refused Xoe to go the bathroom.
THAT was my last straw! (Hopefully many of you know of Xoe's special needs from her bowel problems since birth. She has special permission to go whenever she wants. Hopefully you know so I don't have to go into it here, but so that you'll understand the gravity of my anger at this point and how serious this that she refused Xoe. If you don't know, all you need to know is that it would be REALLY bad if she didn't go when she needed to. Aske me later and I'll explain this to you.)
Xoe and Xanthe are very good students. They have never had a problem with their teachers in the past. Their previous teachers even told me they wouldn't even think of sending school work when we'd go away on a trip to California because the girls picked up everything so fast and they didn't need it. They were way ahead. Now? They're falling behind in 4th Grade. Falling behind for things that aren't even being taught! Cuz this teacher does not teach.
And remember when the girls wanted to stay in school because of a few of their friends? Well, yesterday was the last day for the one last friend who was left.
The others have already left.
So, why does my heart hurt?
I wondered if it's for my loss of freedom I have when they go to school. Any ounce of freedom to get my house clean, do my computer work and do my errands...anything that helps me catch up so I don't feel overwhelmed. Cuz let's be honest. I don't do a very good job of juggling all these things, so I need any time I can get. When I don't do them, I feel overwhelmed.
Or does my heart hurt for the inner "B*#&" that I'm going to have to pull out when I go in to talk to the teacher and principal. I do not like confrontation. At all. I would rather just sneak away and fix it myself. That's how I handle most things in my life.
But, I know what I need to do.
For my girls' sake.
For them to see that this is NOT okay...not okay for them to be treated like this. But that it IS okay to stand up for themselves.
And as a mother, I need to protect my children. And to help in some small way to be another voice to the already multiplying voices of parents unhappy with this teacher. To help the other kids in their class. To help the ones who don't have a choice. To help the ones who I have gotten to know over the years who previously used to be happy and fun-loving kids, but now hang their head as they walk down the hall. THAT'S not okay with me.
Maybe that's why my heart hurts. For those other kids too.
Maybe it's a mixture of all those things.
But I think the reason that outweighs all the other reasons, my heart hurts for my beautiful little girls who are being abused by a person they are supposed to be able to look up to and feel safe.
My heart hurts when my daughter wakes up in the morning, the 5th morning in a row, and is really crying because her stomach has a really bad pain in it. And I know in my heart it's because she doesn't want to face the day. A day with THAT woman.
It hurts when they come home from school begging to not go back. Beg! What child should have to beg to not go to school because they're so afraid?
And it hurts when she wakes me up at 3:00 a.m. after the decision is made that this will be her last day, that her "mind is getting the best of her"...and she is shaking. And the one thing, she says, that would make her feel better is to have me hold her and snuggle with her. And I don't bring up what I'm really thinking, because I don't want to keep acknowledging it and causing her more stress, but I know it's because she doesn't want to have to face that teacher and worry about what the wrath is going to be when the teacher finds out that they're leaving TOO!
My heart hurt until 5:00 a.m. after my baby crawled in bed with me. I spent that time in my deep consciousness practicing all the phrases I was going to use with the principal the next day (today) to let her know what's going on. To be able to ask her, without flipping out, how can she let abuse like this go on in her school? For year after year? She is supposed to protect these children. (But I know better. She is only there to protect the teachers.) And how can she not care about these children who's future in education could be forever damaged because of one bad teacher? How? How? How?
This is where I'm at. And yes, I am going to get other parents involved to file their reports with the School District and hopefully have something done about it.
But in the meantime, Brian is taking us all to New York! And I'm going to cheer them up by taking them ice skating in Central Park and Rockefeller Center. And take them to see Tiffany's on 5th Avenue where one of their favorite movies was filmed. And then take them shopping at F.A.O. Schwarz, the biggest toy store around where they can spend all the birthday money their grandmas have given them. I think that should work, don't you?
Oh, and then after our NYC trip, they'll turn around and head to Utah to spend two weeks with their dad in Utah. And then in April we'll be taking a trip to Germany. I think those things should take their mind off of the horrible experience they call 4th Grade. Ya?
And how come we can do that? (Well, besides the fact that my husband is the greatest husband, stepdad and dad to all of us). Cuz I love them enough to sacrifice my freedom for their happiness. And ya...I get that it's not even a sacrifice. When done out of love, it doesn't even feel like a sacrifice. They're my babies and I would do it again and again for them.
And now I'm off. To have confrontation. I'm SO ready! I'll keep you updated.