When I began this blog, I was frustrated with the amount of effort it took to get my son help within our home town elementary school. Trying to reconcile my experience with my teaching life and concern for the education of our countries children. I was exasperated that I was constantly being stonewalled or politely ignored till I finally realized they would not do anything till I put every request or correspondence in writing, and made it clear at meetings that I was familiar with the laws. This was not how I wanted interactions with my children's school to go. I started off by asking for help and trying to provide what information I had that would be useful to the teachers working with my son. I ended by insisting that my son be moved to a different school.
After talking with my friend, it is a relief to realize that she did not have to struggle to get the help her son needed at school. Thank goodness that doesn't happen to everyone. In her words, "They wanted to help." There was no asking for help and being all but ignored till she "asked" in writing. Hmm. . .his school of choice is just 10 or so minutes from the one where my family struggled. For parents like us, school choice is good. We are happy that we have the option to seek other options for our kids. But we also have both experienced frustrations at meetings when we have felt like all eyes are on us looking for answers. I know, from my experience, a feeling like you might have if you hire a plumber to fix a rusted hole in a pipe, he arrives, looks at the hole, sticks some duct tape on, and then looks at you and says, "What's next?" Well how the heck should I know. Find a new plumber I guess.
How many times have people said to me or I to them, "That school just isn't a good fit." or "That teacher is not a good fit." Finding a good school choice or fit for kids like ours is not like googling "performing arts school" or some other specialty school, especially if we are not able to spend tens of thousands of dollars on one. If we are lucky enough to find a school that is cooperative, they still may not have the knowledge to provide real help. If the school "fits" it is still possible to run acrossed a teacher who is not a good fit. Maybe the school and teachers are great, but the children in your child's class don't share his same interests, they don't click. Homeschooling is another option, but puts another kind of stress on families. Time, money, patience stretch only so far, no matter how good the intentions of the parent who didn't ever think she would consider homeschooling. What would be the perfect fit? What would be the perfect school for kids who struggle with lagging skills and fly with others? I will leave that to a future post, because I am tempted to say simply, "Exemplary Teaching." but something like educating our complex, puzzling, wild, and wonderful children couldn't be that simple, could it? For now, goodnight.