Thursday, November 5, 2009

Help wanted!

Alright...I need help.

Poor Samantha is getting so bored at school lately that she doesn't even want to go to school. When I try to get her to do her homework, she just rolls her eyes and sighs as me as if to say, "Why? I've already done this and know how to do it. You're beating a dead horse here.".

Last night on the way to dance class she came right out and said, "Mom...when I go to school, it's boring. I already know what the teacher is teaching. She only calls on the first person to raise their hand and I always have my hand up first so she calls on me, and I'm BORED!". How does a mother answer this without getting mad at the teacher? How does a mother, who also happens to be a teacher, answer this without getting REALLY mad at the teacher?

I started to talk to her (I've actually been worried this is what was happening for about 2 or so weeks - maybe longer). When I ask her to tell me what she learned in school that day, she can't tell me anything. For example, today I told her "Tell me one thing you learned in school today." I'm thinking she'll give me something profound, right? Nope. She comes out with, "I went to pe and learned to dribble a ball." Wow. Earth shattering!

So, at school today I spoke with one of the first grade teachers and asked her if she had some formal assessments I could copy to give to Sam. She's going to get me a copy of the last block test we just took. Tonight I gave her the primary spelling inventory (QSI from Words Their Way). She scored about 52/84 (that's higher than some of my third graders scored at the beginning of last year people!). After speaking with our instructional coach, I'm going to have Trav check her out of school early next Wednesday and bring her down to take the STAR and 4-Sight tests (reading tests) to see how she scores there. I'm going to update her DIBELS test (last one was first of Sept. and she scored 72 cwpm). I've emailed her teacher and asked if Trav and I can come and meet with her next Friday. I'm hoping she'll agree. I'm going to take all my data (teacher dna coming out). I will ask her to explain their reading program to me (it sounds like it's a basal but not being taught in a very interactive way). I'll then present the concern I have and my data. If she can't figure out a way to differentiate, I will move her to my school. The teachers at my school all worked on differentiation last year so they're pretty good at it. I just don't want her to hate school & right now, she really doesn't like it much!

My sister about died last night when I told her that I'm very seriously considering pulling my daughter out of a Cache County school & putting her in an inner city Ogden school. But, Ogden City has really high standards and expectations, so they have some really amazing teachers. At least I'd know her teacher & could have easier access to how she was doing, right?

What suggestions do you have? The instructional coach at my school told me, "You need to go in there as a parent, not a teacher." But, I think that if I go in as a parent I have a lot more emotional ties to it and the likelyhood of me getting upset is much higher. If I go in with a teacher mindset, I can pull the emotion out of it a bit more and just look at the data and lessen the liklyhood of me wanting to smack her teacher!



Heather said...

It would seem you have a case, but put yourself in the teacher's place. It's the decent thing to do to give her a heads up to what this meeting is about and a general idea that you have collected some data to share. If I had a parent coming to talk to me about this, I would appreciate being able to think through some ideas for differentiation ahead of time that I could share with the parent instead of being put on the spot and trying to think on my feet.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I have thought about this a lot since I read your post. I wasn't ignoring you... I just wanted to think about it some more.

I'm with Heather - give her teacher a heads up. :) You know what it is like to get a mom in that is really concerned. It also scared the HECK out of me when a mom came in that was ALSO a teacher.

I also have to say, if I were in your shoes I'd want my child in the same school as me just for simplicity. I'd love to have my child close so I could be there in case something happened. And although I wouldn't actually be spending the time with her always, I'd know she was there.

With that being said, I have to say one thing about Cache valley schools... You know that they are not all created equally. :) Especially those in Cache district because it is so widespread. Some schools are excellent in differentiation, some.... not so much. Some are really good at differentiating to those that are in more need, but then ignore those kids who are high. It's a frustration as a parent and a teacher. I know that I always found it difficult to challenge my really bright kids when I had a 5th grader that couldn't even read. You know??

Good luck... I know I surely didn't help at all, but I thought I'd put in my two cents.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I also agree with you about going in there as a teacher and not a mother.... As a mother you are tempted just to rant and rave, whereas if you are going in as a teacher (who is also a mother) you have more definitive evidence to back up what you are saying.