Friday, February 13, 2009

conclusion to the art class saga

The teacher called me today. He started off with “I wanted to call and apologize for what happened in art class the other day…” I listened, holding my tongue, he kept referring to saying damn as the ‘incident’. He danced around it saying “the kids were really being defiant, your son and a few others were genuinely doing their work and the majority of the class is always uninterested and always chaotic and it got the best of me”. I let him finish, after he gave me the same story that the principle had suggested that big E be placed in another art class for the remainder of the year I cut in.

I asked a few questions:
Me: “does E do well in your class when it comes to listening?”
Him: “yes”
Me: “does E seem to get it, when you explain what to do, does he seem to understand your instructions and is he able to focus on his assignment?”
Him: “yes, he does a terrific job.”
Me: “does E seem to get frustrated with the chaos?” {{for anyone who knows E this is the ENTIRE reason he’s in THAT school where they have a program specifically designed for helping him learn to get over his frustration by using appropriate words, actions, and learn to move forward}}
Him: “he never seems to be bothered by it, he always works through it”
Me: “ok, then explain to me what the benefit is of moving him, when half the year is over?”
Him: ---speechless---

My point was that if E’s work is not suffering and he isn’t part of the chaos, then how is the teacher saying “damn” E’s problem? Why would we move him and how would we explain to him that he’s a great student but needs to be moved to another class? The teacher was a little put back, and seemed as though he expected me to just agree and say “yep, lets move my kid”… I finally told the teacher “look, I’m human, I say bad words, but I’m also required to be accountable. I understand that teaching 5th graders can’t be all wine and roses all of the time, I’m sure that there are many days with kids who aren’t respectful. But my kid IS being respectful in your class according to you, and I don’t see the benefit in moving him, I do see the need to correct the mishap by apologizing to him and explaining to him that you’re mistake was just that – a mistake, and that you should assure him(and me) that you’re going to do your best to be better at how you handle YOUR frustration.” I also explained that I didn’t plan to apologize on his behalf, that I felt that E deserved that face to face, because that’s what I’d have expected E to do if HE was the one saying the foul word to the teacher.

End result is that all is well with the world, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. The teacher took E aside and apologized, and E was ok with that…