Another school year has come to an end. It has gone so quickly and yet seems to have lasted for such a long time!
It has really been a tale of 2 children. Both with contrasting views of the experience this school year has given them.
M has come on leaps and bounds with the additional support hs has received for his reading and writing. While he still refuses to pick up a book at home – we have reverted to making him read without him really realising he is doing it, like when he is playing a video game, he is happy to read dialogue that comes up on-screen – passive learning is a very positive thing in my opinion. At school though, with the expert nurturing he has received, he has gone from a child who would get extremely stressed if asked to read, to confidence to offer opinion in his small group, and has now been integrated back into his class. It is amazing to see the progress. Maths though still remains his favourite activity and he was so excited when he had division homework. He took it out of his bag, eager to do it – homework can be such hard work usually, and he was so proud of himself when he told me that he “aced” these when doing them in class. He twice during the course of the year received the weekly award for his efforts, and for M that was a major thing.
This however doesn’t paint the whole picture. I have a boy who has been frightened to go to school most days, to the point of trying everything to get out of it. He is a child that tell me school is not a happy place. He has abdominal migraines which the doctor says are stress related. At 9 years old, should his daily life be making him so unwell that it manifests itself with physical symptoms? I have shed many tears over this. We have had numerous meetings with the school – and I think they have got used to my tears and always have tissues at hand! Our problem is M doesn’t communicate well. It is not that he can’t communicate, but that he has to have totally processed information before he can understand it and be able to verbalise it. This makes it nearly impossible for the school to make head way, because if he isn’t telling them what the problem is, how can they help to make life easier for him? They have done everything they can to help, including bringing in the support worker from the academy to spend some time with him. M though isn’t good with people he doesn’t know, or rather, it takes him a long time to give them his trust, and the lovely lady is not really getting let into his inner circle – yet! He has told her he doesn’t like school, which is a major admission for him, but has clammed up when asked to explain why. She will continue to work with him in the new school year. He also spends a few minutes each morning before the bell, with his additional needs teacher. She is somebody he loves, and trust completely, so he has opened up a little more to her by saying he prefers time out of the classroom – I don’t think anyone is really surprised by this admission as the noise and confusion there can be distracting for many children. He has had a few problems with peer pressure. He still doesn’t really understand friendship, but has developed some closer bonds with a couple of children recently, mostly because of talking about Minecraft and the like. The problem has come when some children start talking about games which are not age appropriate and they tell him he should be looking at them, and he feels he has to. He knows he shouldn’t be doing it, because he tries to hide his activity but wants to feel part of what is going on. We have had sleepless nights when he has had nightmares, and the number of conversations we have had about knowing when things aren’t the correct thing to do. Luckily we have our computer in the family room so we can nip in the bud things that shouldn’t be happening, goodness knows what he would try to do if he had private access to things.
He leaves P5 as a child who has moved forward with his education, but is still very emotionally immature. The down times at school are still dangerous places for him, and we can only hope our concerns are taken seriously by the school.
In the new school year, he will be in a composite class of P6/P5 children. The blessing of a class like this, is the pupil numbers are capped, which with an every increasing school roll and many classes needing elastic walls, is a blessing. We are worried though because he has job share teachers. Three times in the past we have experience job share, twice for M and once for D, and all three experiences have not been totally positive, in fact rather negative. We of course put these concerns to the school at our end of year meeting, and have been reassured these ladies have worked well together for quite sometime, with positive results. Both teachers do have very good reputations – of course parents talk to each other to hear teacher reviews!!! M has spent time with both teachers, and so he knows them both, so only time will tell how he reacts to them and if he lets them in enough to allow them to work their magic on him!!!
D’s school year has been a different experience altogether.
He kept the same teacher he had in P2. A teacher he totally adored, to the point of worshipping. When he heard he was keeping her a second year, he was totally made up. She is such an amazing teacher that she connects with the kids. With D she talked to him about Star Wars and Dr Who, she was therefore cool, and someone to trust. This relationship continued into P3. He hung on her every word, and if Mrs Teacher – one of his names for her, said something, then it had to be gospel! As a parent, she was also easy to talk to, when there were problems, she would listen and deal with them – or maybe I just connected with her because she was just a middle-aged geek like me!!!!! He has been totally engrossed in the topics they have studied this year, and still quotes information about Egypt he has learned. Like most kids, he has had days he hasn’t wanted to go to school, but it’s never really been heartfelt like it is with M. He didn’t want to take part in sports day, because of bullying he had previously received about not being very fast, but his teacher saw this as an opportunity, and he became a helper and was so busy during the games he had a brilliant time, and he has already said he will ask if he can do the same next year!
Before the teachers for next year were announced we talked to both boys about the transition into the new school year. D was instantly upset about the prospect of loosing Mrs Teacher, and denied all possibilities of this happening. D’s positive experience and his enthusiasm had been seen by M and he said that he thinks if he could have her as a teacher he thinks he would like school. That says an awful lot about the relationship D has had with his teacher and how he shows it. I too wish she could teach M as I know he could come on leaps and bounds with an educator like her. Needless to say, he has a new teacher for next year, but the class is moving as a whole – I see this leading to problems this time next year as this is the third year most of these kids have been together, On the meet the teacher day, one of his class, told Mrs Teacher that the new teacher was nicer than her, and this upset D so much, that all he could talk about was what he was going to do to this child because it just wasn’t true!!! We learned nothing of the new teacher! He then seemed to switch off to the whole thought of moving forward, that was until 2 days before then of term. It probably began slightly before that, as his behaviour was becoming more and more erratic, but the worst of it was evident as the slightest little thing had him in full meltdown. It was a horrible few days, until he finally sobbed his heart out at bedtime the night before the last day, telling me he didn’t want to say goodbye to Mrs Teacher, as he loved her! We knew this was why he had been so off, but it was still heartbreaking to see him put into words his emotions. The last day came and went with little incident but he had a horrible evening with all his pent-up emotions rolling out if him.
So, we have survived another year. We now have 45 days until the next one……….