Thursday, 28 April 2011

What The Hell is This Teacher's Problem?! I'm No Mother Teresa, But What The Hell?!

It's one of those days that you want to make a tinfoil Viking helm, stand in the corner with a broken broomstick and threaten everyone in a bad German accent!!!  

All right, like seriously?!  I'm super mad, and I don't know what to do about it.  I suppose there's really nothing I can really do, other than sit here and stew...  Ugh!!!  I hate Dayton's school so much!!!  Really, this post should be titled Rant 103, but I can't take the "Rant" series from Wendy, it just wouldn't be fair.  But Oh My God!!!

So, last Wednesday, I get a class assignment from Dayton's school on "poetry."  The students are to pick a poem and memorize it.  The assignment is graded on memorization (no problem), how fast the student is presenting the poem (may have a smidgen of a problem here, since Dayton rattles things off as fast as he can so he can get whatever it is done and over with, he has no patience), does the student speak monotone (are you for real?!  Yes, my son speaks in monotone most of the time!), does the student make eye contact (Oh My God...  Lord help me, I'm on my knees begging you to help my baby get through this!!!  Dayton has autism, so HE HATES MAKING EYE CONTACT), does the student gesture naturally or does he/she look uncomfortable (Seriously?!  Gesture?  Is this a play or a freaking poem?!  And no, Dayton won't gesture anything, nor will he look comfortable.  He pretends he's invisible for a reason!!!), is the poem challenging for the student?  I can actually feel a brain aneurysm coming on.  There's a pain starting in behind my left eye and I swear my right arm's gone numb.

I discuss the assignment with Dayton.  "Did you talk about poems in class today?"
"Oh...  do you know what a poem is Dayton?"
"Hmmmmm...  there's a homework assignment here (his second one this year), and it says you're suppose to memorize it.  Are you sure you weren't given another paper, a paper with poems on it?"
"No you're not sure, or no you didn't get a paper with poems?"
"No paper with poems."

Awesome!  How the hell is Dayton supposed to pick a poem?  Google poems?  How does the teacher determine what is "challenging" enough?  Are we talking Shakespeare?  My headache got worse and worse as I described the assignment to Dayton, who started freaking out...  I made him a nice warm bubble bath, set up Sponge Bob Square Pants, and rocked him to sleep.  My poor babe...

The next day my friend's in a bind and can't pick up her little guy from school, (the little guy is Dayton's only after school buddy) so I volunteer to pick up both of the boys.  Both boys go to the same school, so it's not a big deal... I call the school to inform them that I will be picking up the boys from school, so they can cancel Dayton's bus and get Dayton's weekly reading material ready for me to pick up.  After saying hello and asking how the receptionist was, I introduced myself as Dayton's mom, and she interrupted me with an "perfect timing!" and the line goes silent.  I'm thinking did the woman hang up on me?  Did she put me on hold?  Better wait and find out.  Then I thought, "wha'dya mean 'perfect timing?'  What the..."

"Hello Lou!  Did you know I was just about to call you?  How strange you would call at this moment!"  Ugh...  It's the principal...  and yeah lady, I'm psychic...  My good day's gonna turn upside down again, I can just feel it...
"I'm not sure what Dayton did, but I'm on my way to the school right now.  The two of you can tell me all about it when I get there.  Be there in 3 minutes..."

Here's her email to me to shorten this post, explaining what happened... 

From our discussion today, here are the behaviours we talked about and the time frames:

Mid-morning - Dayton left the building and informed Mr. J. that he needed to poop and he only pooped at home or outside. He ran around the corner of the building telling Mr. J. he needed privacy. He undid his pants but did come back inside with Mr. J.
At lunch recess, he was running around the halls, entered the gym, took a hockey stick, and ran outside.
Mid-afternoon, - He entered the office and took candies from the secretary's container. We took the candies from him.
mid-morning - He gave the middle finger to students
mid-afternoon - He ripped Jack's work - tore his paper in half

We shared with you some drawings that still contain weapons. He has been more off-task for the last couple of weeks - less focussed and less work produced.

Lou, please keep me posted on the situation on the bus with the boy from Middle School.
Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Oh yes, we're so going to have a wonderful weekend...  You drip!  Where the hell was Dayton's assistant throughout all of this?!  

We had also discussed the poem assignment...  She agreed with me that it was inappropriate for Dayton, and she had suggested that Dayton could memorize a joke instead.  I'm thinking "AWESOME!!!  Dayton LOVES jokes!  Great idea!!!  Gotta give the devil credit when it's due I suppose.  

So we spent the Easter weekend looking at and memorizing four jokes...  We pretended to be comedians, we actually watched a stand up comic so Dayton could see how they behave on stage (for the gesturing part of the assignment), how when the comic asks a question, he waits a few seconds before answering, because obviously the audience won't have the answer...   What a waste of time...

"Really?  Are you sure Dayton?"  He looks at the floor, "yes momma..."
I get on the phone.  To summarize our conversation, and this post, here's the email I had sent to her early this morning, making sure she gets it right away...

Good morning Bev,

I'm a little confused...  and a little miffed. 

Last Monday afternoon I called the school to speak to you about the Poem assignment I had found in Dayton's agenda, and explained that the Principal and I had discussed the assignment and decided that Dayton could memorize jokes instead of my finding a "challenging poem," when I had no idea what kind of poem to look for...  You had told me that we didn't have to memorize anything, that Dayton was not suppose to have this assignment in his back pack.  I had expressed to you that Dayton and I had spend the weekend choosing his jokes from a joke book and had been working very hard to memorize them, read them to you over then phone to ensure that they were appropriate and promised to email them to you as his handwriting is difficult to read.  On Tuesday, Dayton tells me he's reading a poem with Mr. J... 

When I got to the school to volunteer for the hot lunch program in your classroom, I had asked Mr. J about the poem.  He informed me that you want Dayton to memorize a poem, in 2 days?  While I realize it's a short poem, and Dayton has "most" of it memorized, having things changed on him at home for his assignment caused major upheaval last night.  Furthermore, my time dedicated to Dayton memorizing his jokes now seems like a complete waste of time.  While yes, he has them memorized, I was hoping to work on his "monotone" issue, and eye contact, and having him pretend to be a "comedian," so he would look more at ease for his assignment, all things the other students are being marked on, because I wanted Dayton to feel successful.  I really wish you could communicate with me when it comes to his assignments.  It makes it really frustrating for me not having you communicate your thoughts on Dayton's progress and especially the expectations.  Thank goodness Mr. J took the time with me yesterday and explained what he'd like us to work on at home to prepare Dayton!  I had one hour to help Dayton memorize this poem last night, as after that he had a melt down because he really wants to tell his jokes. 

I would appreciate it if you still allowed him to tell his memorized jokes, he deserves that much.  Dayton has worked very hard to memorize them, and it took a lot of work for him to pick them out in the first place.  Trust me, he only likes one of the four jokes, I'm sure you can guess which one. 
1) What do witches put on their hair?
- scare spray
2) What does a monster call his parents?
- mom and dead
3) What do you call a cow with no legs?
- ground beef
4) Why is 6 afraid of 7?
- Because 7 8 9

So maybe we can come to a compromise for Dayton's sake.  Let's have him recite his poem to the class first, then follow it with his jokes? 

I would like an email at the end of the day, telling me how well Dayton did on his reciting his poem and jokes.  It is important that I know he complied as I promised him a major treat if he did well.  We haven't decided on the treat yet, as I told him to think about it.

Thank you, and have a good day.


So, all I can do now is cross my fingers and pray to our Heavenly Father that Dayton is prepared for this.  Either way, no matter what his mark is, I am proud of my son.  He's a true gem, and I love him more than life itself.  I thank God every morning for choosing me to be this precious boy's mother.  

Now that I'm done ranting and raving, please understand that yes, while I talk about my life with autism on Autism Diva, I am not asking for your sympathy.  I hate it when people say "Oh, it must be so difficult raising a child with autism, you poor girl."  And I'm thinking to myself, no, it's not Dayton that makes my life difficult, it's stupid people like you, but don't say it, cause I'm really not THAT mean...  I'm blunt, and honest, but not mean...  I know people don't know what to say...  But it really ticks me off, I mean, Dayton's healthy.  He's not dying.  So his brain is wired differently...  Anyway, back to my point.  Yes, I discuss Dayton here and our life, but Autism Diva is not about feeling sympathy for us.  I love my son.  Autism Diva is about explaining the complexity of autism.  Sharing with you is to let you know you're not alone out there, and for those of you that don't have children on the spectrum, Autism Diva will hopefully explain what autism is and what parents with children on the spectrum have to face.  Autism Diva is about awareness...

Consider yourselves hugged!  


1 comment:

  1. HE DID IT!!! My baby got to shine today! I'm so proud of him! Here's the teacher's email response:

    Hi Lou,
    Dayton was able to get up in front of the class and tell his jokes. He spoke confidently, with good expression and volume. He was able to make his peers laugh and was even able to explain the joke behind the grounded cow when they didn't get that one.
    He did a great job!
    He was also able to memorize the rhyme that Mr. J chose for him, but decided he didn't want to say it in front of the class. He recited it to Mr J clearly, with good volume, and with poetic rhythm. I will conference with him tomorrow to let him know what he did well and to give him encouragement for trying other class assignments.


    And so I'm a happy, proud and grateful mom! My baby just proved to his teacher that he can learn! Way to go Dayton!!! And now she's going to give him the same assignments she gives to the rest of class. Maybe, just maybe he'll get an education? Do I dare hope? For today, I'm happy with Dayton proving to his school that YES, he can learn, if they communicate with me and let me know what the expectations are so I can help him at home! Team Dayton scores!!!