Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'We Need To Talk'

Yeah. When you hear those words it always means something bad; never good. If it's something good, you'll hear "Hey, I'd like to talk to you about [whatever]. "We need to talk" - *shudder* - is bad news.

But that's what I heard from Bella's teacher when I picked her up from school on Monday afternoon. What the heck???

About her teacher - she's in her mid-seventies and a smile would surely crack her face. She's not your typical happy, touchy-feely, affectionate grade school teacher type. She looks better suited for dealing with unruly teenagers. But Mrs. F is something of an institution in the Vicenza school system. Probably because she's most likely been teaching since the end of WW II. You would think that words, either spoken or written, cost her money or pain for the little she uses them. Just sour lemons. But she's supposedly the best the school has and the only one who teaches an immersion program for 1st grade.

Bella was excited about school, because she loves school. But after the first couple of days, she didn't want to go anymore and said her teacher hated her. Now when kids say that, that usually means that the teacher is being strict, which I'm all for!, and making them do their work. But I paid attention when I dropped her off and when the teacher would look up and see Bella, she'd make a face like someone just farted in her classroom or something! Other parents who have had her that I've talked to reported the same things and thought she had lost her passion for teaching and should have retired years ago.

So I was very upset and very stressed out about all this. I emailed her and told her I'd make myself available for a meeting whenever it was good for her. I also told her a bit about our situation and how we had just moved here, just received our household goods, etc and how this had been a huge adjustment for Bella. In other words, give my kid a break already. I mean seriously, they haven't even been in class for two weeks yet!! How much trouble could she be??

In talking to a neighbor, it was suggested that I go see the 1st grade counselor. They have one for each grade because the school is so large. This was an awesome bit of advice. The woman was totally fabulous and actually listened to me and my concerns. I told her all about Bella, our move, and the school experiences so far. She also gave me some insight into her teacher and her background. She suggested I go to the meeting with an open mind and to try not to get all defensive "Mama Bear". Easier said than done!! But I'm going to try. I know Bella isn't perfect and she's always had issues here and there with her focus. She's a very social girl and would rather chit-chat than do her work. She's six!! She needs someone to gently re-focus her and not belittle her.

So my meeting is in about an hour. Hopefully it all goes well and we can smooth some things out. Otherwise it's going to be a real hassle and we'll have to go to a committee to get her moved to another classroom. Which of course is just going to add more stress on Bella too. This really sucks.

23 comments:

Pixie said...

I feel your pain. Having made an international move, albeit to a country that speaks English, I relaly get what you are saying. I had struggles with my son's teachers who just couldn't understand why he was struggling.

Stick to your guns and remember 'Mama Bear' is NOT a bad term!

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

I am a teacher....and to be honest...the mama bears are my favorite....that means they are actively involved in their child's life. Stick to your guns. There are a lot of teachers out there who should have been retired a long time ago.

Intense Guy said...

I agree - a lot of so called teachers hang on way past their prime (and some never have a prime).

I hope that there isn't anything serious underlying all the angst - perhaps the teacher just doesn't like how cute Bella is or the beautiful clothes she wears. Jealousy causes a lot of foolishness -

Hugs

Regina said...

It is amazing how even grown up getting called into the "office" is still a scary thing. I feel for Bella...so many adjustments BUT she has that strong, caring personality
(can not imagine where she gets it from..hehe)and she will adjust to it even stronger. Open minds are good but Mama Bear is something that we can't push back..it's there and I think others should know it. It does show that we are there for our wee ones and we care what goes on around them and in regards to them. Besides, maybe her sour face is her way of smiling.

Hugs,
Regi

blueviolet said...

I hope the meeting goes well and that the issue is resolved. It would be awful if Bella was unhappy every day!

Mighty M said...

Oh, keep us posted for sure!!

Heatherlyn said...

Yeah, Bella is little. Our kindergarten teacher is so nice. She understands when the kids can't help themselves from skipping in lines or sit without wiggling. A teacher who doesn't? That is quite a life experience for Bella. Because, not everyone in life is nice or understanding. I hope it doesn't turn her off to school in Italy because school is just something she'll have to do, like it or not. :( I wish it could have been a nicer teacher though. People who don't like kids should not be teaching.

Ginger said...

I hope the meeting goes well. I don't blame you for being protective of your sweet girl. I hope whatever the teacher has to share with you she does it in love and ith respect of Bella and you. Hope it goes well. Take care.

just call me jo said...

Best of luck. I've been on both sides of the issue. Tough call. Sometimes one teacher isn't right for all children. Sometimes children need to buck up and adjust. I hope this works out well for everyone. Teaching is tough but so is studenting. (I'm sure that's a word much better than studying.)

Deanna said...

I'd kill her with kindness, while sticking to my guns with a smile on my face. It definitely sounds like she has stuck with the program long past the time she should be teaching. I'm glad you talked to the school counselor. My experience is that a good one is worth his/her weight in gold.

foxy said...

I hope it went well. I'm thinking about ya.

And how could little Bella ever be any kind of trouble?! :)

Kristina P. said...

Oh, wow, good luck. We have a school teacher who works with the kids who are brought in by the police, etc. The unruly ones you mentioned. But even that kind of thing doesn't work on them! And she can really cross the line with them. I don't find that kind of behavior OK in any setting.

Mimi said...

I hope it goes well, otheriwse, let 'er rip!

I love you!

AliceKay said...

I hope the meeting went okay and things have been resolved to your satisfaction (and for Bella's happiness). *hugs*

Lynn said...

Lord have mercy, I sure hope all goes well for you and for lil Bella, it is tough when you have to put up with a teacher like that. It is sad that you have to go through a committee to get her changed to a different classroom. You would think if that lady has had complaints before she would try some being nice effort I dont know. Anyways I hope all goes well and glad you got the advice about the counselor and she was nice and listened to you.

When my daughter was in Kindergarten she was always just bringing home colored pages and that was the extent of it so I went to the school and told them to put her in a class where the teacher will teach her something besides coloring and after that I really saw a change the class they put her in that teacher made sure she taught alot of different subjects :o)

Good luck! HUGS

Mary said...

I remember two teachers specifically that I really thought hated me...and it made for a horrible year, and my grades dropped.

Sending hugs and good thoughts!!

Tammy said...

Hang in there girl...if it's meant to be that she needs to move it will be clear to you...it's a tough one! Waiting to hear what the teacher had to say.

Mary said...

Poor Bella! How heartbreaking is it to be so excited about going to school, then to have that turned around.
Hope you post a follow-up, and I hope it turned out okay.

Jenny S said...

I am soooo with ya chica!! I have the same outgoing six year old little boy who is all about friends and maybe not so much focus....we are working on it!! Good luck to you and Miss SourPuss!

KK said...

Yikes, I hope it went well!!

Angela@Inkology said...

I LOVE your blog! And I hope everything went well with the teacher. I would totally be on the defensive (or is that offensive?) too. Following from SC.

LindyLouMac said...

Hope it all went well.

scrappysue said...

ugh. there's one teacher at my daughter's school that should have quit years ago. she's just AWFUL. it's like she actually HATES kids. i hope it goes well!