I have heard it said one good teacher can make up for 3 bad ones. My son had the most amazing Kindergarten teacher. She was such a wonderful start to his education. She even came to his high school graduation party and we exchange Christmas cards. It is not an exaggeration to say she taught my son but also taught me. After the first semester she requested a meeting and told me she thought he should be tested. I had her explain to me what she meant, what was the testing for and then agreed.
He went through the testing and confirmed what his Kindergarten teacher thought; he was a good fit for the system’s T&G program. It would challenge him more and let him use his creativity to a greater extent than the typical classroom. I thought it would be a great idea as he was starting to ask why he didn’t think like the other kids and why was he weird.
Mrs. Jones was his first-grade teacher. She seemed welcoming and the classroom was colorful with stations around the room exploring different things. The incoming class was so large that there was a co-teacher in the room also and half of the students were assigned to her and the rest to Mrs. Jones.
My son got Mrs. Jones as a teacher.
It started well; he enjoyed being with the other kids and feeling more “normal”. His grades weren’t super, but it was also first grade, so I didn’t give it a thought…until parent teacher conference.
She told me he lacked focus and was easily distracted. That sometimes he seemed to not be paying attention and she would have to repeat things. (I personally thought, um yes, also traits of T&G kids I have read and why this new “learning style” was supposed to be the way to go for him). But I just nodded, slightly shell shocked.
“So, I have put him in a box”
A box? I asked quite confused. She went on to explain that she had this, science fair board like object that fit around his desk, he could not see the other kids nor the front white board. “I only use it when he needs to focus”. I said I was not comfortable with him being singled out like this and she told me oh she uses them on other children “like him”. He reminds me of my daughter, she told me, and I had to really buckle down on her. I left the meeting feeling like I had failed my kid. Who elects to put her child in a classroom where the teacher thinks a BOX is a good idea?
I went home that night and talked to him a great deal. Did he like the others in the classroom? How did he feel in the ‘box’? Did he want to go back to the other school he was at prior? We talked a lot about Mrs. Jones, how she made him feel and if he wanted to stay in her room the rest of the year. And he decided yes, (I personally think I would have told my mom get me OUT of here). We both grew from his experience, and he made friendships with some of the other ‘box’ kids. I kept in close contact with Mrs. Jones and tried to reign her in when I could.
We still talk about it from time to time (he is 22 now) and he will say, Mrs. Jones did NOT like me. And I will agree and say, yes, but she REALLY didn’t like me.
She retired the following year after his first-grade class.