I dislike making blanket statements about people, places, things or entities, but I think public education should come with a disclaimer: Public school isn’t for atypical (i.e. – anyone with mental health challenges, behavioral challenges, physical challenges) students.
I used to love school. Sure, I had trouble with mornings – still do – but I loved school. Loved it so much that after graduating high school, I continued my education for 20 years and 5 degrees. Yes, by now rather I’m over-educated. But I love learning!
Now, though, I’m pretty fed up with school. Or rather, I’m fed up with middle school. Hoping high school improves my feelings, because as of right now, if it wasn’t against the law to pull a 14-year-old child completely out of the education system, I’d do it. He can learn at home by reading stacks of books, playing Minecraft, mowing lawns, and going on educational field trips to places like Walt Disney World. I’m pretty sure his stress levels would be much lower; I know mine would be cut in half, at least.
Let me start out by dying that I have great respect for teachers in general. But. Several of them at my son’s school seem to have gone above & beyond to make this year a challenging one. I spent the first half of this school year (8th grade) trying to get his teachers to contact me whenever he had homework, remind him to take photos of the assignments on the board, and/or remind him to write them in his agenda. Yes, I know he’s 13/14, and perhaps in your opinion by now he should be a responsible little pre-adult, never needing to be reminded about homework assignments, but frankly, I’m a 41-year-old adult and my Book Manager has to constantly remind me to send her posts for author interviews. Why do you expect a young teenage boy to remember everything he dislikes about school? Why is it so difficult and beneath you to take the time to remind him and take 5 minutes out of your busy schedule to call me – or text – to let me know details about his homework?
I get it: we’re trying to teach our children to be responsible. But responsible for what? Their grades? Because it seems that’s ALL the public school system in America is concerned with. Do you teach my child how to interact in a positive way with his peers? No. Do you teach my child alternate acceptable behaviors when he gets in trouble? No. Mostly, my child receives your attention when he’s done something wrong. You give him a consequence and expect ME to correct his behavior. I can only do so much. I’m not with him in a school setting, so I have to take your word for what goes on there. And I’m a pretty skeptical person. I usually need EVIDENCE. I work in law enforcement and have that training, so evidence is very important to me. But don’t think that I take my son’s word for law, either. I’m skeptical of him also sometimes; especially when a certain behavior is repeated. Over and over and over.
So. The second half of 8th grade, suddenly everyone bombards me with assignments that he needs assistance with so he can pass middle school and continue his education. Why did it take you so long to listen to me? I know my child well enough to know that while he’s highly intelligent, he doesn’t function like a typical student in a traditional school setting. Why is he there, then? Two reasons: I needed him to be evaluated by the school board so I could get a McKay Scholarship for him to go to private school, and so I could (hopefully) find a way to finance private education for high school. I’ve accomplished the first of these and am still working on the second.
So, if he fails middle school, that’s on all of you. And that saying “Hell hath no fury…”? Yeah, that’ll be me. And I’ll send him right back to you next year and demand that he have the same teachers he had this year so y’all can try to get it right next time.