Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In the interest of full disclosure...

In the interest of authenticity and truthfulness I suppose I should share my lows as well as my highs. The last post reflected a perfect storm of 'gifts'--the confirmation that facing facts and waiting in (for me, shaky) trust yields results that transcend what seem to be inevitable. I was an amazed "kindee" (I suppose, doing my 'job' as a kindee: responding with joy, gratitude, wonder at an unexpected and undeserved gift). A lovely experience. Might as well end the blog right there: living happily ever after.

Well, back to the other job of the kindee-- to be vulnerable and helpless, waiting (and I hate waiting) in (shaky) trust. Yeah, my trust is riddled with holes, but I AM new at this.

Scott had his first week of 1st grade at the new school last week. Reports from Billy on 'how he did' were uneven but largely positive. However, he's just instituted a 'responsibility chart' that identifies 4 levels of responsibility and commensurate privileges. Yesterday when I arrived for pick-up he was talking with the students about assigning them seats. Scott transfers in and within a couple of days these behavioral curbs are put into place...halfway through the school year and now there's a need? Coincidence? I'll ask on Friday. At pickup yesterday when I asked how Scott had done Billy hesitated before answering. I noted that Scott had moved up a level on the responsibility chart which Billy acknowledged but I got the impression that achieving that level did not necessarily mean a smooth upward glide. He said something about "he's not where I want him to be yet" or something like that. On the drive home Scott says he had a good day.

Instantly my waiting-for-the-other-show-to-drop persona asserts itself and I'm fearing the worst (spitting in the eye of god?). I sent an e-mail to Billy asking the nature of Scott not being-where-Billy-wants-him-to-be. I shared my fear that maybe his educational experience was off to a bad start by virtue of having really been unready for a classroom setting. Perhaps he'd had insufficient skills in self-regulation and expecting him to learn in a room full of distractions is akin to expecting a baby to walk before the development of bones and muscle are complete. Perhaps deformity has resulted...?

Billy responded with an e-mail suggesting we have a conference, with Scott, on Friday after school. I've agreed, and I'm apprehensive.

My biggest fear is that Scott won't succeed, I guess. Success defined as developing a love of learning, and a classroom experience that gives him pride in his growing abilities. Behavior that reflects this--I'm inclined to agree with Dr. Sears in his belief that a child who 'feels right acts right'. I fear the unknown: if this isn't a good situation for him, then what. I suppose I take him out and homeschool him. On the theory that not only does he need more time to mature before he can be expected to single out and attend to a single voice in a distracting atmosphere, but there needs to be some time to wipe the slate clean for a fresh start. A chance to rest those undeveloped muscles and bones that he's been forced to walk on prematurely. Undo some damage.

BUT, what if maturity *isn't* at the heart of the reason he's not thriving in school? THEN what? This is a potentially prolonged period of stepping out in faith and already I'm hearing some mutterings from the gallery. We've all heard stories of people who persisted in the truth, even when everyone else was swimming against them. Sometimes it took years for the truth to become apparent to everyone, bringing vindication to the people who'd had only themselves to sustain them. I'm not sure I have the fire in my belly it would take to last over a long haul.

I read back over Kevin Kelly's essay for some inspiration. I can see that I am definitely in the kindee stance: needy, helpless, afraid. The Gift isn't a one-time event and then 'happily ever after'. It's not about never feeling needy, helpless and afraid again.

"How will the miracle happen today?"


Lori said...

Now I'm on pins and needles about Friday. Hope the conference is encouraging.

All those what-ifs are scary. I feel (and share) your anxiety.

I hope you get to see exactly how the miracle will happen today. And tomorrow.

excavator said...

Thanks. Today he was sobbing in my arms before I left the classroom. When he pulled away from my shoulder and I saw the anguish in his face I burst into tears too.

On the way out I saw a mother I'd known from Scott's preschool and shared with her my worry (my red eyes and wet cheeks betrayed me).

She called a little while ago to say that she'd been volunteering in her son's class and had stepped in for a bit while the teacher ran an errand. She said that as of 9:00 Scott was doing fine, seemed happy.

I'll send a dispatch after Friday's meeting.

Joker The Lurcher said...

hi - found you from maddy's blog! i so remember the early school stuff - not sure how old scott is but i'm guessing fairly young? my son is now 13 and has been in a special school for a few years. he thrives there but in mainstream it was a nightmare. he has adhd and is autistic and the environment of a mainstream class with 30 kids was hopeless for him. i was much the same at school although without a diagnosis. i hope things pan out ok for you and scott.