Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I'm not sure if Jealousy is the right word for this

I struggle with even letting this little "secret" out, because I don't want others to feel bad about crowing over their kids' accomplishments.  They should.  Being proud of our kids is great, and all kids should feel great if they get good grades and feel that sense of accomplishment.  Even better if it extends to their parents.

But, Lord help me, I wish there were something that would delete every one of those comments in my life without my ever seeing them.

I don't begrudge people who can say "so PROUD of Muffin! Muffin has ROCKED it this quarter with straight As."  I really don't.  I, too, applaud Muffin's effort and know exactly why Muffin's mom or dad is bursting at the seams.  In the same moment, I despair I'll ever get to publicly acknowledge pride for that particular kind of action for my kids. 

I'm proud all over the place of the people my kids are.  They care about people they know and their community, even those they don't know.  They're good to others and don't consider the "cool" factor of people before declaring them best friends.  They don't see race as a reason for friendship.  People's race is simply a descriptor as in "I wear glasses, and she has brown skin." They're both comfortable in their own skins, stand up for what they believe in, aren't afraid to use their voices, and as people with global sensibilities, I think they are wise beyond their years.

But (you knew it was coming).

And it's the ultimate knife in the gut for an educator like me, my son doesn't care at. all. about homework.  Or sitting in class.  Or information that he doesn't find interesting.  This has always been a minor problem, teachers commenting occasionally that he's not "engaged" in the class (buzzword for he's not focusing rapt attention on them), yet he'll get As on tests.  It's obviously sopping in there somewhere, so it meant Bs instead of As. Now that he's in junior high, they're making a big show of how they need to be responsible for himself (which I GET, but tossing him to the wolves isn't working) and knowing what has to be handed in when. They also tend to nickle and dime the kids with a ton of little homework and classwork turned into homework assignments, a process I've never liked. Problem is, turning in busy work doesn't concern him, even when he's actually done it.  This has caused his grades to plummet.  We've taken all fun away, and it's still not improving.

Of course, as a parent and teacher, I worry that this will be a lifelong attitude, and he can't exhibit this behavior in the future, because it will only continue to get worse. As an outsider, I also tend to view this situation and think "so ALL the other 11 year old boys are handing in their work scrupulously?" Because a number of them routinely end up at my house during the evenings and weekends, so I observe them fairly closely, and I find that hard to believe.  Sigh. We're trying organization techniques and mandatory study labs, whose real advantages are the teachers KNOW when he has homework and he's allowed to go to his locker if he forgets something.

My daughter? She's a different issue entirely.  She tries hard, loves school, enjoys the material and her teachers, but it takes her a much longer time to internalize the information.  As a consequence, she goes through a few tests and class activities where the grades aren't great before she hits sustained understanding, and it affects her grades.  I worry she'll never be an A student, not because I demand As from her, but because I don't want her to tune out from school and start to dislike it, because she doesn't have that report card validation. It doesn't help matters that the district just switched to a new math program that is stinking HARD! Even my son saw some of her work recently and pronounced they hadn't covered that until 5th grade (she's in 3rd).  The teacher even said much of the class had severe difficulties in the beginning of the year.  For her, I just want her to stay motivated to be a good student, because she could go off the rails easily if she's not dedicated.

What is it they say about the children of police officers?  They're always the kids getting into trouble?  Does something similar  hold true for the children of educators?  They're the ones who reject traditional education?

Parenting, it's not for the faint of heart.

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