Saturday, November 6, 2010

*crickets*

Hello?? Anyone still out there??

Sorry I've been so out of touch. Like I said in my last little blurb...I've just been totally overwhelmed. With everything. Too many things going wrong here, too much stress. But things seem to finally be turning around, and I'm trying to be positive and drag myself out of my blues.

When we finally got our household goods, I could measure my productivity by how many boxes I had unpacked, and how many rooms were set up. Once the boxes were gone, you'd think I'd be so overjoyed with the "work" part done, that I'd look forward to the fun part of decorating, organizing, hanging up pictures, etc. But it didn't happen that way. I just didn't want to deal with it anymore, I was tired of the whole moving process, and then all of the school issues with Bella started. It just seemed like nothing was going right and I was wondering why my dream was becoming a nightmare! I was missing my friends, my routine, my life!!!

There is a lot that needs to be done still. Housekeeping - both with the house and with me - needs to be attended to. It still feels overwhelming but like most things, it's the getting started that's the hardest part. So I will make my lists (Type A personality, anyone??), and just get going already. I'll go room by room, get it cleaned up, organized, decorated and move on to the next one. And someday soon, it will be completed and I will finally feel like I'm home. Does that make any sense?? I just can't feel settled in my head, when my house is still a wreck. Well it feels like a wreck to me...

Then I can feel more myself, feel more productive and focus on getting things right within myself. Feeling sorry for myself isn't doing anyone any good. It's time to fix things and get on with my life!!! Things aren't perfect; they aren't how I imagined they would be. But when is it, really?? Que sera, sera.

The Bella school situation:
I pulled Bella from school on Friday the 29th. The following is the email I sent to her teacher:

Ms. Flaherty,

I am almost at a loss for words right now, I'm so upset. It has become abundantly clear that you have no patience or tolerance for my daughter, and nothing she does will ever be enough to satisfy you.

Today Bella walked into your classroom to tell you she had done all of her papers and work. Her tone was one of pride in having completed her work, and she was looking to you for positive reinforcement and acknowledgment of her efforts. Instead though, you just once again quashed her spirit by saying she needs to do her work every day, and refused to even look up at her while you destroyed what little confidence she has left. Would a thin slice of praise truly be so difficult for you???? Must you always ONLY focus on the negative, and ignore anything she ever does right??? Who does that to a child?

She has no trouble focusing on her work when she's with me. With all the papers and writing she had last night, it took her less than 40 minutes total to complete it. A "full day's work" according to you, finished in 40 minutes. She didn't have any problems doing it either, as it's all repetitive work she's already done the past two years. It was easy and she did it. I'm not a professionally trained teacher, and yet I did your job. And I did it without ruining her self-esteem or spirit!

When she was putting her coat and backpack away this morning, another little girl in the class came up to her and tried to give her a hug. Not Bella, the other girl. And poor Bella told her no, that she wasn't allowed to give anyone hugs anymore.

So don't tell me that she alone is 'too affectionate', because frankly I don't think such a thing is even possible. Children should be full of love, affection and tolerance for others and I will no longer stand by and let you kill my daughter's spirit. Because that is what you have systematically done from the very beginning of the school year. NEVER has she said she hated school before, or that a teacher hated her. And yet that is what has happened this year...every single day!

Also, Isabella has had one full year of full-time pre-school and and one full year of full-time kindergarten, and NOT ONCE has any teacher ever told me that she has issues with other children or that she doesn't relate well to other children. My daughter loves everyone and is loved by everyone! She plays well with children her own age, as well as children older and younger than her.

The only one who seems to have a problem, is you. If she sat in class for two days and didn't do her work, what were YOU doing about it? I'm not there. You are. It's your job, not mine. You have repeatedly ostracized her before the entire class by setting her apart and have targeted her from the very beginning. I have spent time in your classroom and I have seen plenty of other children that have far worse "attention issues" than Bella has and yet she is the only one you force to be separated?

And just how do you think that makes her feel? What do you imagine the other kids think about that? From what I have seen personally and from what I have learned from talking to over a dozen other parents who have similarly suffered through your teaching methods, I am convinced that you do not have the skills or patience to properly teach these children. You are a cold hearted, indifferent, and horrible teacher, and perhaps the time has come for you to retire. I am hardly the first parent to tell you this, so you might want to seriously consider it!!!!

Regardless, I will no longer stand by and allow this situation to continue. It's obvious that you do not possess the skills as a teacher to lovingly guide and teach my daughter and I won't tolerate the ostracism and negativity you constantly direct towards her. I went to the front office this morning to schedule a conference, but I will be canceling it and will instead meet with the first grade counselor and principal. Your presence is not needed or wanted. Isabella will not be returning to your classroom and I would appreciate it if you would send home all of her personal belongings with her this afternoon.

Jeanne Kupsh

Thomas had staff duty on Monday, so wasn't able to join me in a conference at school on Monday, so I kept Bella home. With all the rain we've had in this area, there was extensive flooding in Vicenza so school was actually released early on Monday and completely closed on Tuesday & Wednesday. So she only wound up missing half a day. She returned to school on Thursday, and we both brought her into her new classroom to meet her new teacher. And no, we did not jump through any hoops with the school and did not have to go through any committee like we were told originally we would have to. I was very clear with them - they were moving her, or she wasn't going back and I'd file a negative report. Period.

It turns out that her new classroom is directly across the hall from her old one. All her friends were overjoyed to see her again, but sad that she wasn't in their class anymore. So much for her not relating to other kids, huh??? (whatever!) Her new teacher is absolutely FAB-U-LOUS, very loving and kind, excited to have Bella in her class and so bubbly in her teaching manner. So basically, a 180 degree turn of events!!!! Bella now has permission to go to the library everyday if she wants to sign out books (she's by far the best reader in the class and got to read a book to the entire class on Thursday!), and can use one of the five classroom computers as soon as her worksheets are completed! I don't think getting her work done will be an issue any longer with computer time as a reward!! She shares a desk with a little boy she already knows from ballet class, so that is also great. Her new class has 16 children, compared to her old one with 22. So fewer children, with a much better, much happier teacher. HEAVEN!

Thomas and I had a 45 minute conference with her new teacher on Friday, (it was a teacher work day so there wasn't any school), and we were so reassured that they only problem had been her old, crotchety shrew of a teacher, NOT Bella. The teacher said that Bella was bright and lively, and got along with everyone in class. She said she would be recommending her for the gifted program and Bella might have some advanced teaching in January to assure that she wouldn't be bored in her classroom. She went over what the class had done so far this year, and what was planned for the rest of the year. Most of the math work is done on the computer, and can be done either at school or at home, so Bella can catch up and complete the modules on her own computer at home. She loves it! She will be constantly striving to challenge Bella and seeing that she's not bored with areas she's already proficient in. Can I get a hallelujah??

So no more "bad reports" and hearing about what a bad girl she is!! No more dragging Bella to school, no more dreading picking her up! Bella is NOT some sexual deviant because she's affectionate and likes to hug other children. Bella is NOT behind academically. Bella does NOT have issues relating to other children. Bella does NOT have to be set apart to do her work or focus. What Bella needed was a teacher who wasn't living in the dark ages, and used positive reinforcement methods rather than negative, and didn't belittle or ostracize her in front of the entire class day after day! In just one day she is already thriving and excited about school again!! My daughter is no longer being bullied by her teacher!!!

So things here are looking up and I'm really grateful for it. It was just so stressful and so damn dark here for the longest time. It's time for the light to shine in on our lives!!!! So I raise my glass of delicious Italian wine, in beautiful Italian crystal, and toast to a happier times....in Jeannie's Happy World!!

Amen!

20 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I am so glad you guys did what you knew was right for her.

Cherie said...

I am so glad you got everything ironed out with all the problems at school for Bella. It sounds like she is going to be much much happier.
I have found when our kids are in stressful situations it makes mom twice as stressed. Hopefully your stressed will be cut in half as well!

Sandy said...

So happy to hear that Bella finally has a good teacher. Hopefully everything will be calming down for you now. :0)

InspiredDreamer said...

So I've had crickets of my own at my blog, but I guess having an internal organ taken out is a good reason. Sounds like you had good reasons too! Glad to hear your daughter is enjoying school. It's funny how often the gifted kids are actually earmarked as non-productive if they've got teachers who don't understand how to teach them. Glad you've got a good one now!

Lynn said...

I am so happy Bella has been moved to her new class and everything is going well, HALLELUJAH!! :o)

Deanna said...

^5! Yea! I'm so glad you were able to work things out and get Bella where she belongs. That other teacher really should be forced to retire. It isn't right.

Is it possible to function without lists? I don't have a type A personality (maybe A-) and I HAVE to have a list at all times. One day at a time, one task at a time and before you know it, your life will be back in order.

Was mighty glad ot see a post from you.

Deanna

Tammy said...

So glad to hear this...what a nightmare that other teacher was. It sounds like the new one will be fantastic and challenge Bella in a fun way. Yay!

Hang in there girl. I know we get down on ourselves when things aren't just right in our home. Take it one day at a time and you will feel at home again soon!

slommler said...

It was like you were all stuck in some bad dream!! So glad you could wake up from it and have a new positive reality! So much better for Bella and for you!
That teacher definitely should be left go...I can't believe they have been aware of these kinds of problems with her and she is still there!
Good for you for taking a stand. Fabulous!
Hugs
SueAnn

AliceKay said...

Hallelujah! Wonderful news about Bella and her new teacher and her new class environment. Sounds like she's doing great now. Way to go, Mom. Someone needed to stand up to that old teacher, and your letter to her should make her think twice about her teaching methods.

I hope things settle down for you soon. It was nice to see a post from you (and the email), so hang in there, do what you can when you can, and shine! *BIG HUGS*

Evonne said...

That sounds like my daughter's teacher from last year.

I am so glad you got things worked out with Bella and the school. She sounds like she is doing wonderful and that's how it should be!

Faye said...

Jeannie, I'm so sorry you all have had to endure the school situation. So far from home and familiar surroundings must make it extra hard. From experience with my son, I know some teachers do not tolerate well kids that are not cookie cutter kids. Like in most situations today, one has to look into and solve things on their own. Removing Bella to a new class will pay off emotionally for all of you.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I realize how busy you must be so I really appreciate your comments.

shanesletten said...

I'm glad to hear my lil sis is doing better in school. I hope she has lots of fun! Does she have a crush on any lucky boys yet? Hahaha, and don't worry about the whole unpacking business. It took forever unpacking in GA, and back then you had Alex and I to help. Just take it one step at a time and remember to relax. I still can't believe you're living in Italy!

scrappysue said...

Yeah, u told her! Did u get a response? I'm so glad that her new teacher has approached bella afresh and not listened to anything rat face may or may not have said in the staff rooM! I would have been so worried with the classrooms so close. I can't believe it came to that though. How were the counsellor and principal thru all of this? At least that is one thing settled, and messy rooms are nothing in comparison, so don't sweat it! So glad its been resolved.

KatCollects said...

I am so happy to hear that Bella has a new teacher with kindness and patience! And happy to hear that you are doing better. I know that life can be so overwhelming. I am working on a surprise for you, please be patient with me, I am slow these days, lol. Matthew got home from Iraq today for his 2 weeks of R & R. It was sooooo good to hug him!!! Hoping to be hugging him alot the next 2 weeks : )
Hugs,
Kathy

foxy said...

Well, no WONDER you were so down! What a mess to be dealing with. And what an old HAG of a teacher. I'm no teacher, but I do know that you must have PATIENCE to be able to teach and it sounds like that old lady already used all of hers up. How sad for the other children that have to deal with her. I'm so glad that you moved Bella and everything is peachy again. Those kids are so impressionable and really do need positive reinforcement!

Glad to see you back, friend. And I got a little thank you card in the mail the other day... have I told you lately how talented you are??

Heatherlyn said...

Wow. What an experience. I am so glad that you stood up for your daughter. You gave that teacher a chance, and she turned out to be the problem. And your letter to her was very good. It wasn't rude at all. I hope the teacher considers it and retires. It's amazing what a difference the teaher makes, between a child being ostracized and labeled bad vs. being recommended for a gifted program. I am soooo glad that turned out well for you and Bella. I hope it is indicative of everything else falling back into place! :)

Mimi said...

Great e-mail, but then you already know that don't you.

I love you!

Mimi

LindyLouMac said...

Still here, welcome back to blogging after all that stress, happy it all seems sorted. Take Care.

Intense Guy said...

*hugs ya tight*

I'm just super glad you are back and starting to feel more yourself again.

Now don't do that again... :)

Mary said...

It really is amazing how much influence a teacher has on their students life! I'm so glad things are looking up, and that Bella has rediscovered a love for school!