“Public schools aren’t for everyone.”
This is the statement I got when questioning why the pace of my son’s first grade class was so ramped up. My son is six. He has been alive on this earth for just six years. The amount of information and the pace in which it is being delivered is baffling to me.
I was a teacher in public schools for eleven years. I loved it, and I was good at it. I used to look down my nose at the parents that moved their kids around from charter schools, to public schools, a dabble in the private school, and then settling back in the public school. I witnessed parents playing the GPA game, stacking up honors classes and filling their kids’ summers with required but not weighted classes in order to boost the GPA to a 5.0! What? Since when does a GPA go higher than a 4.0?
I never bought it when people would complain that teachers just teach to the test. I was there, in the teaching trenches, we didn’t do that. But oh perspective, sometimes being in the trenches you can get dirt in your eyes which doesn’t let you see the big picture. Now that I am on the other side of education, being a customer or consumer, I do my best to see things in the big picture of life. Viewing education from this perspective I can see that the core value of education is placed on test scores. My son takes his time to think. You can physically see the wheels turning in that little head. His mouth is mouthing the sounds, his eyes are tracking, and his amount of wait time needed is just about the same amount of time that makes you want to just answer for him or call on the next kid. In all things, this child doesn’t rush, he takes his time.
Taking time to think… Valued in the real world, but viewed as unproductive in the classroom. See the disconnect? I love the school my kids are at, but if I leave my six year old in that classroom, he is going to fly under the radar, and be even further behind. So my search for a new school has commenced. Do you have any idea how challenging it is to find a school that doesn’t pride itself on rigor and working years ahead in the curriculum? Damn near impossible!
I want to find a classroom where my child can go slow in his reading without it giving him a red score on the test. Are you trying to discourage him? I want a classroom that will give him a foundation to grow on, not just require him to regurgitate information once a week. Could you imagine a man that was taught to take his time before responding, a man taught to think through his actions, and to truly understand something from all angles? Sounds sexy, right? Well I am raising someone’s husband here, and damn straight I want her to think his deep thoughts are sexy! I have been entrusted with this boy and I have to figure out a way to get him to be this man that can think, and I need help doing it.
When I need help, I pray. I ask the Universe, God, the Great Spirit to help guide me to the decision that will create the greatest good for all concerned. My question was simple, what do I do? Do I let him sit in this class and watch as his flame of knowledge gets extinguished until he hates school and learning? Do I home school him and lose my shit on a daily basis? Or do I look outside my comfort zone into something new to us as a way to fuel his flame?
(Well, here’s something that you will learn about me, God answers me through license plates! I kid you not! I could write an entire piece on the messages, affirmations, and answers I get by the cars driving on the road!)
On one particularly low day after volunteering in the classroom and seeing my boy grow dimmer and dimmer, I was driving and praying for guidance on what to do. Keep in mind, I have only been half-assedly looking into other options but nothing too serious yet. I secretly kept hoping he would all of a sudden catch on to the culturally-conditioned way of being in public schools, and I could forget my worries. (Actually, that’s a lie, but it did cross my mind.) back to driving and praying, which is totally legal in my state, here comes a car with the license plate “DONTWYT”. I interpreted this as “don’t wait.” And that is exactly what I did. I got busy and found what has the potential to be a good fit for him. He gets to go on Thursday to be a guest student in order to try it on for size. Fingers crossed that it is what I hope it will be for him. Until next time, when in doubt read a license plate!
Sent from my iPad