Friday, May 31

squeak squeak BANG!

This is a wordy one so skip it if you'd like.

The old saying - the squeaky wheel gets the oil is so true. The education and readiness of my twins has long been a concern of mine and I have been active in the school to try and make sure they are getting what they need. I am at drop offs, pick ups and special events - but only just discovered that that is not enough. If you want something to happen you NEED to be an advocate for your child. I have got the the point that I don't care how pushy I appear, I just want what they need.

Now, the boys are in grade 1. They are on the young side of things and current trends say that boys in December should be held back in kinder, and twins - well even more so. Put into that mix auditory processing disorder and you now have a bit better picture. With the help of speechies and OTs the decision was made to go to prep and they excelled. The structure was what they needed and socially they are doing fine.

But I felt they were behind educationally. They were initially in separate grades to give them the opportunity to develop as individuals. This was great. I would pop in and see the teachers, both independently said They're doing fine. I would say Really? And they would give me a weird look and say - Yes! Really! So, I would wander off thinking how different are the kids at school to at home????

Come end April and a big move happens. They move into new pods. This is all of the grade 1s (some 90 kids) in one big open space. They are taught as 2 large classes, each with 2 teachers. So my boys who each have their own friends are now thrust back together, people asking which one is which, to boys that they didn't even realise was a twin. One step forward two steps back.

The big room is noisy, filled with kids and the teachers are learning each others style and how to work as a team in a new environment. All fine - but I feel it is at the expense of my kids. During this time. the boys come home with stickers on them and the story of where they come from seems to vary. When I finally get a chance to grab a teacher, she explains that they are getting additional help with words and handwriting. As I tried to explain to her, the additional help is appreciated - I just didn't know about it and I can help if I know what they are doing.

I then try and organise to catch the other teacher as Benji is displaying some troubling behaviour. The poor kid thinks he is stupid and to punish himself for not knowing things, he is pulling out his hair, hitting, biting and pinching himself. I can't do nothing, so when the meeting falls through I wrote a letter. I am not having a go at the teachers, I just need them to understand how I feel, what the kids are doing and how we can all move forward and fix the problems.

Not surprisingly a meeting was quickly arranged and it was action stations. There have been a lot of issues that have caused this - teachers strikes from last year and this year meant no comments on reports, no parent teacher interview this year, the move to the new room meant notes didn't get sent etc for which they were very apologetic. I am fine with all that - I just don't want my kids falling through the cracks - particularly 2 of them.

The meeting was positive and I now feel that both teachers have an eye on them. Lots of information was not passed on from Prep so it is almost like a term wasted. Something that does bother me is the political correctness of the whole system - where no-one likes to say it how it is. If they are behind then just tell me. If they are slow to pick things up - then thats how it is. Don't dress it up with a bow. Nothing is going to help them down the track - we have to get on it now so that they don't fall too far behind.

As a result, I actually feel better. We have set up a communication book where the teachers will let me know they program for the upcoming week and I can do some pre-teaching at home. We have a greater focus on home schooling, with reading, spelling and fine motor becoming much more of a focus. Hopefully, we are on the upward swing and have caught it early enough. What it has shown me is that you have to trust your gut and go out an fight for your kids because no one else is going to do it for you!

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