Thursday, May 30, 2013

So kindergarten is a's to first grade!

I am sad to share that Jackson did not have a great kindergarten experience this year.  It was rough for us both because his eacher decided on the first day that he was a problem child.  He has his occasional issues of course-but is NOT a troublemaker.  He lives to please!
I was timid and worried that if I spoke up she would just be harder on him so I tried to keep a low profile and now I regret being afraid to speak up.  All year I had a bad vibe that something wasn't right and seemed wrong, but I tried to make those thoughts go away.  Of course, I should know by now not to ignore my intuition!
So I wanted to share, and hope that maybe other parents can take heart and not let fear intimidation stop them from speaking out if something feels wrong, despite no concrete proof-other than a kid who hated school and his mommy's bad vibes!  
I want to share a copy of the letter I just e-mailed to his principal.  All I am still awaiting a reply, but I would love to get some other viewpoints on tis subject!

To explain somewhat, Jackson's original teacher (Ms.B) had to take a leave-of-absence and a sub (Mrs.S) took over the last 8 weeks of class-much to my delight!

Principal G,

Hi, my name is Maryanne Doty. My son Jackson Doty is a kindergartner at your school. His teacher all year was Ms. B and I wanted to share our experience with you.

Jackson and I both had a rough start to the school-year, and Jackson seemed to really struggle all year long in his class until Mrs. S took over due to the unfortunate illness of Ms. B's daughter. I worried about the change because of the bad attitude and negative outlook Jackson has developed over the course of the school year, and because change is harder sometimes for him to handle. I had no need to worry!

We really had a very rough year and I was shocked that my son, who is intelligent, sensitive, sweet and kind was, according to Ms. B, a disruption to class with major discipline issues. I received emails weekly from Ms. B detailing incidents involving my son that seemed to describe a boy I did not know nor had ever personally witnessed. Yes, my son has his bad moments, but I really expected his kindergarten year to be a magical beginning to a wonderful, positive, learning experience. Sadly, until Mrs. S took over, we had a different experience. Jackson hated waking up for school and tried to be sick all the time in order to stay home. But now he wakes up happy and ready to go.

I stopped in recently and thanked Mrs. S for restoring my faith that my son is a normal, smart, active six year old. He is not in need of a medical assessment, as Ms. B once suggested, but actually the normal, sweet boy I always knew he was. He recently told me Mrs S is a nice teacher and he used to think teachers were all mean.

I was intimidated by Ms. B and honestly just tried to be sure not to give her any extra reason to dislike or find fault with my son, but now that we have had an opposite experience, I feel like maybe I should have spoken up earlier about the bad feeling in my gut that, because of personality clashes, my son was being singled out in a negative, unfair way. Jackson even told me before that Ms. B used to make him sit in the safe seat at the beginning of the day without cause. He told me other kids in class would bully or goad him and get him in trouble and she allowed it and always blamed and punished him. He never had a red (great) day until the new teacher-how sad is that?!

Please let me know if this is helpful, or if I am being too sensitive? As a mother new to having children in school I am not sure what to expect or if my feedback is even helpful? I do have records of every email I ever received if they would be of interest. I feel like my son may have been given an unfair, negative introduction to his education and I really want to turn that around for him.

Maryanne Doty
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