Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School

I know, I know... every year I do a tirade on the public school system. Because I think for the most part it stinks and is hugely (is that even a word) flawed. However, not this year...

Spencer came home from school on Friday happy. Really happy. And that has not happened since Kindergarten. He LOVED Kindergarten, he had a fantastic teacher who he thought, thought that he was just the greatest smartest kid ever. And I am sure that all of her students thought that. She was just THAT kind of teacher. She's battling cancer right now (for the second time) and I hope she beats it. The school would greatly suffer if she didn't. However, first grade hit and that was the end of loving school. He started getting teased more and more, and his teacher let it happen. How do I know? I saw it. I helped out in the class and I watched it happen and her do nothing about it. And it wasn't just Spencer, there were other kids getting teased as well, but if the teacher says nothing, then as a kid being teased you are screwed. She was completely unorganized and well, we really struggled with her. Especially considering that Spencer tends to be kind of OCD about things. He NEEDS structure to feel safe and happy. And he didn't have that.

Second grade got better. He had a more organized teacher who actually did a fantastic job. She was well structured and even got to the point where at the end of the year she started teaching them the 3rd grade curriculum. Knowing full well that they would forget some of it over the summer, but also knowing that at least when they relearned it in 3rd grade it would seem familiar. However, the teasing continued. Teasing about everything, his ears being big, the things he was interested in, the fact he doesn't play sports, the kind of underwear he wore (he was pantsed in the 1st grade - yea that was NOT a good year) you name it and he was probably teased about it. Add on top of that some bullying on the bus and we needed a change.

So, at the end of the last school year, I put my name in the lottery for the charter school near us. It opened a year ago, and I heard good reviews about it from two families that are in our neighborhood and I figured it was worth a shot. I was told from the beginning that there was a chance Spencer would get in, but not Jenna because 1st grade was full and there was a waiting list of kids whose siblings got in to other grades. So we waited. Spencer finally got in on the third lottery and so Jenna went on the sibling wait list. That was on a Monday, by Wednesday Jenna was in. It was a small miracle. And really I felt like it was going to be a really good thing for the kids, especially Spencer.

On the Sunday before school started, we got an email from the Principal, who wanted to send out an email reminding the families of the "charter" that the school was founded on. The goal of the school or main focus is Constitutional History. And the charter had a ton of excerpts from Pres. Reagan's farewell address. Seriously! Steve could not have been happier.

On the first day, I worried. All day long. And Jenna of course came home COMPLETELY happy. But I didn't expect anything less. She LOVES to meat new people (I know, whose child is she?). She had a fantastic day. Spencer on the other hand said he had a good day and that things went good, but he wasn't over the top excited like Jenna was. And this went on for a week. Until Friday. Friday he came home from school just beaming. He said that he had the best day ever! And I may or may not have gone into my room and cried...

The test was Monday. Was it just a one day thing or was he finally glad to be in school? So yesterday when I go to pick him and Jenna from school, he gets in the car and was just chatting away. He loved it again. And then this morning when I was dropping the kids off at school, a boy saw Spencer get out of the car, and yelled, "Hey Spencer!" and they went walking into the school just talking away... That hasn't happened in a long time, I just hope that it keeps up... just sayin'.

8 comments:

Heather - said...

Well, you have me crying now. First of all, I am so sad that Spencer had such a horrible experience at his old school. You go to all the trouble of raising a kind, considerate kid who has interesting and unique interests, and cruel kids at school try to crush it out of him. I hate it.
I am SO happy that Spencer is fitting in. It makes you so happy and grateful as mom to drop your child off at school, and watch as other kids come running up to say hi to them and be their friend. Spencer is such a handsome, genuinely cool little boy. He deserves to be in a place that recognizes that :)

Motherboard said...

I have been seriously considering putting Lauren over there for 3rd grade. I'm less than thrilled about the teachers they have for 3rd/4th grades.

I am a firm believer that it is not necessarily the greatest thing to have everyone in the neighborhood also going to the same school/church. Sometimes space allows kids to be who they really are without the trauma of the neighborhood kids being bullies.

The best thing that ever happened to us was when my kids had their neighborhood friends, their church friends and their school friends. Their social group was a larger group to pick from.

YAY for Spencer!

Lhone said...

Ok...crying again...I am jealous of Spencer getting out. I think Brandon is going to have to do it on his own. I HATE the teasing, the bullying. I'm surprised people would pick on Spencer because he is such a cutie, and an awesome kid. Brandon had the same horrifying experiences, including getting a wedgie (the other kid almost died because I was there) he also got punched in the head by someone who wanted a part in the play that Brandon got, and he was dissed by the love of his life. I HATE school. I hope it goes as well for us, and it is for you. Good luck on the rest of the year.

Cynthia Hatch said...

I am so glad that it is working out. Nathan and Craig have both had times when they have been pushed around at school. As a mother it is the most heart renching thing. To see them struggle and cry. To see their little self esteme drop. I am so glad you were able to put him into a better school. Childhood can be so hard and at times I have considered home schooling. I am hopeful that my kids will do well in their new schools this year. It is nice to see that Spencer is.

Heather - said...

Oh great Lisa, way to make me worry about the school I just registered Matthew for. If the bullying starts with him, I may consider home-schooling until we move.

Michelle said...

I may or may not have cried with you! I don't like school either. I also see it as a reflection of society - ugly in so many ways and getting worse. I am grateful for the gospel.

Dean and Cindy Hatch said...

I don't understand how teachers can ignore bullying. Don't they listen to the news? Bullying cannot be tolerated AT ALL. So glad for Spencer this year.

Judy said...

I'm glad that Spencer is happy. Sam was bullied a little last year, and I started tearing up when I asked his new first grade teacher at back to school night when I told her about it and that I was worried about it. Thankfully the kid has moved! Hooray. Sam even asked about him this morning... wondering where he would be. So I was happy to inform him he is gone. BUT - bullies wont always move, and most often wont, so I think the teacher should have a no tolerance policy and stop it immediately. Which I don't think his kindergarten teacher did. Anyway, growing up is hard. I stress about my kids too.