June 6, 2008

Problems at home?

I have had problems with my youngest son in school since God knows when. He has ADHD and its always been a constant struggle. Recently, I learned he was failing a few of his classes. When asked about his grades, he said he slacked off and was trying to recover. In reality, he wanted to go off of his meds ( I know alot of people are against them but some kids really need them). I allowed him to try school for a month and see how he did. Well, his Progress Report said it all. His English teacher called me at work to let me know about my sons failing grade after I had already received the report. This is the second year she has had him in her class so she really should know how he is by now. Anyway, towards the end of our conversation, she asked me if things were OK at home. What?? I guess as a teacher you might venture into a conversation like that with the parent of a troubled teen. My son, however, is not troubled. He can be very lazy when it comes to school work. I was offended. I explained to her his desire to go off his medication and she acted like I was full of crap. She took it the next step further, I guess, because she wasn't satisfied with my response. First let me state that my son is not on illegal drugs, he doesn't die his hair or have piercings, he's not a rebel, and does nothing that would constitute your typical cry for help. She told the school counselor that he MAY have a problem, so he was called into her office. The first thing the counselor asked him was if there were problems at home. His answer, "no, I slacked off at the beginning of the semester and I'm trying to make up for it now." Why, just because my son slacks off in his school work, does that mean he is having problems at home? And why wasn't she satisfied with my answer? In hind site, one might say its a good thing that a teacher cared enough to ask. I, on the other hand, feel like she has questioned my ability as a mother and parent. If a child shows continual signs that they are in distress or has a drastic change in personality, then would be the time to seek further assistance. Making the parents feel inferior is not the answer. Am I wrong to take that personal? Since then, I have clamped down hard on his school work and we are hoping it will be enough for him to pass his classes. I would just like to add, I had no idea there was an issue until his Progress Report arrived. If a student is having problems, shouldn't the teacher contact the parent before hand so its not too late?? I would really like to know the answer to that question. Maybe I should forward this to his teacher so she knows exactly how she made me feel. Im I being too sensitive?


Joseph Pulikotil said...

The teacher is not at all wrong in asking if there was a problem at home. If the homely atmosphere is good and the parent is encouraging, without applying undue pressure on the child to study and study all the time,if the child gets enough time to engage in sports or other activities which will make him happy I see no reason why the marks will not improve. Ofcourse, it is the parent's responsibily to coax and cajole the child to study his lessons on a daily basis.

Mommy23 said...

Yes, you are being too sensitive. Your sensitivity is baggage from something that happened to you. It has nothing to do with the school staff. They were doing what they are trained and required to do. Granted, some educators tend to get hard-hearted and tend to talk down to others. If it were me, I'd go in and politely explain that I felt I was being talked down to so that you can get out of your resentment and move on.

Lori said...

I have no idea why you would say the reason I am upset is secondary to the baggage im carrying or something that has happened to me. Thats ridiculous. With relationship issues, maybe, but not being a parent or anything that has to do with my children. Im a single mother that's worked hard raising 2 boys alone. I have gone over and above for my youngest son so that he will succeed. The fact that I didnt find out he was failing or having problems until it was too late makes me question why that is. I feel its the teachers job to notify the parent when a child is struggling when you can still do something about it rather than let him fail and blame it on the parent or parents. I take my job as a mother very serious and I also took it personal that she thought him failing was my fault rather then him slacking off. Thanks for your input though. Its all appreciated and considered.

Quilldancer said...

I am a teacher. The question, to a parent, "Are things okay at home," don't necessarily mean the teacher is thinking "child abuse". Kids worry about their parents. If you had lost your job, if you were ill, if a family member or a pet had just died, those things would affect your son's concentration and his grades.

Plus, when you told the teacher your son wanted to try life without his meds, she may have very well thought you were unwilling to confess you could no longer afford the meds. Hence she called the counselor, who -- if she should find that lack of funds is the case -- may also find a way to HELP you.

Why immediately does it have to be teachers against the parents and parents against the teachers? Teaching used to be a partnership with the family. Anymore it is more like a war. Good teachers are quitting because of it. I am sitting here now uncertain if I am returning to work next year because I am tired of being considered the "bad guy". Soon you won't have to worry about teachers asking if everything is okay at home, there won't be any teachers left who care.