Western education 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

....... avoiding the cold in my own household......

..... means that Max is sleeping in the spare bedroom and trying to keep his distance.  I am washing my hands, rinsing with a neti pot and staying far enough away.  It is cold and allergy season and I am keenly aware of my own sinus headache forming like the black clouds on the horizon threatening the deluge that will follow.  It is a terrible sleep of tossing and turning and trying to ease the pain in the brow line and upper head.  I cannot find my sleeping cap which keeps my head warm through the night.  I feel like I have an icy hand on my forehead and I place my warm hand over it to warm it and reduce the pain.  I am not one to seek head medication but I stumble out of bed, fatigued and in need of some tylenol.  The cat has discovered I am up and is relentless in his pursuit of me by meowing loudly from the doorway.  The noise gets me up and I feed him only to be disturbed once again by his persistent request to go out.  No worries Kajen..... it has poured almost 85mm of rain..... I wave him off and head to the couch to lay down.  Laidee is at the right level to stick her pointy collie nose into my eye socket..... so now I am up for good.

I peek out back once it is clear enough to see..... the pool Max closed last weekend is now brimming with water and the pond has overflowed.  Thankfully both were at low enough levels that they have barely overflowed.  It must be a record rainfall?  This morning is dark and dreary with a light rainfall.  Its a good day to stay in bed, only I have things to do.  Later this morning, Max will be vacuuming the basement from water that has come through a hairline crack in the foundation.

This week has been amazing in the classroom and labs, getting everyone caught up and up to date with their deadlines.  Working closely with a colleague in another course has been extremely rewarding and the ideas exchanged means a better experience for the students.  I love what I do and where I am and although there are some rough days in the week of chemo, I can't imagine being anywhere else.

The Thursday evening finds me at my daughter's school to meet the teacher in an open house forum.  I have a few red flags and some reservations about her teacher based on what I have been hearing from others and what she has told me at home.  First I run into a very dear and favorite teacher Mrs. L. who has been such an incredible teacher and very supportive of Lydia at the end of her grade 5 year when I was diagnosed..... (she sent Lydia home with a bouquet of the most wonder yellow Gerber Daisies).... and greeted me warmly with hugs when she spotted me walk through the front doors.  Shelly B was next with warm hugs and wishes.  She was the first director for the daycare at Jean Vanier when it was in its most humble beginnings in a borrowed room at the school....... and became a friend.  

Max and I head up to Lydia's classroom where we meet the hulking man who has become her teacher.  I am eying him from my perch on a desk and when he is done speaking to the two parents ahead of me, we introduce ourselves.  I had asked him for his OCT number to see what his qualifications were but he gave no reason as to why he did not respond to the request in Lydia's planner.  One thing a parent does not appreciate is a teacher who ignores them.  He informs us that he had to send our daughter to the principals office because she was talking too much???  While we know this is a family trait and I have a college student in my class who has yet to take a breathe.... I think it is highly unlikely that this would necessitate a trip down the hall to the head administrator.  I digress and we move on to discuss his offering of candy in the first few weeks of class.  It turns out after much pressing that a local restaurant dropped off a ton of candy and he would fill his pockets with them every day to dole out to the kids, which they perceived as a bribe to get them to do their work.  He indicates to us that he wasn't going to eat them so hey, why not save them for the children.  I was thinking the garbage can next to his desk would have been a viable option.  I dislike the use of candy to 'inspire' children to comply..... especially when we do not use that tactic at home.... Lydia has had thousands of dollars of dental work to repair teeth after an accident when she was three and sugar is such an enemy to not only her teeth but to her general health.  I tell him that I do not want him to offer her sugary treats unless it is a special occasion and even then, the traditional offering of 1/2 pound of chocolate to just one child is ridiculous.  I offer to supply him with alternative options for Lydia if he insists on using this as a reward system for work that is expected.  According to him, he is retiring in a few years.... we smile, shake hands and walk away.....  I am hopeful that my daughter does not see the inside of the principals office again....   in this world, you do not have to like everyone but you certainly have to learn to negotiate for your children in a polite and respectful way.  We head downstairs to give last hugs to Ms. L and Ms. P in their classrooms and one to Shelly in the foyer.... three of the most incredibly loving and caring women I know!! We have been blessed to have them in our lives.

This is only the 2nd time in my time as a parent to 3 children that I have had to address issues I did not feel comfortable with.  Mitchel, when he was just a wee fellow was shy and reserved and a young fellow took it upon himself to get into his face on a daily basis until Mitch reacted one day and unfortunately the child was pushed a few step from the bottom.  Thankfully the child was not injured but it took that incident for the school to finally call me.  They told me it had started in September but I asked them why they had chosen to wait until February to call me?  They felt that they could deal with the issues themselves.  The vice principal had chosen to dose my child with candy and other treats to get him to comply.... only he gained weight, was constantly constipated and didn't feel well.  I wish I had been informed.  When the incident finally broke the silence, I simply had Mitchel at home and dealt with him the way I deal with all of my children - with consequences.  They never had an issue with him again and learned that not all parents are uncooperative.  I resented the way they had dealt with my child and here once again was someone using candy to elicit good behavior.  In my home, you have expectations and consequences and at no stage is candy ever a part of the deal.   Children want to know they have pleased you with the simplest forms of appreciation like a verbal thank you, a card, a pat on the back or a note left in a planner.  We wonder why children feel so entitled and why we struggle sometimes at home to have our children do chores without expecting a treat.....rant over....

On the up side.... Lydia, as with Mitchel will learn about life not always being fair and equal and to learn to get along with all kinds of personalities along the road of their learning.  We always pray that their generation will be better than the one raising them and ever hopeful that they come out happier and better for the experiences.  I have watched all three of my children grow and mature with a healthy self esteem and a good sense of their belonging in the world.... grateful that I have not repeated the mistakes of my elders and chose to raise my children with healthy attitudes.  I cannot prevent them from being treated badly by others, only learn to deal with them more effectively than I have in my growing years.  There will always be someone who walks into your life for no other reason than to challenge you to see where you still need to grow.... those that take you off guard in moments where you are at your lowest and force you to check how far you have come and to make a mental note of where you need to go.  The ones who hurt you the most are the ones who make you take notice if you are wise enough to see the lesson..... those who don't will be forced to repeat it until they learn the right way..... we are always evolving, growing, learning and experiencing and hopefully reflecting.  It is rarely a one way street...

I dedicate my blog to all those teachers out there who have started a new season filled with excitement and adventures and whose endless hours of class preparation and careful planning enrich the lives of our children.  Thank you to all those wonderful teachers who have been so supportive and kind to my children.  Congrats to Linda for entering into her first teaching position, which I know you will absolutely love.  To Adam's daughter and Linda's daughter, who are at Western Faculty of Education.... you will love your adventures at an amazing University.... it goes fast so enjoy every minute.  To the colleagues of mine and to my fellow graduates now teaching at Fanshawe.... thank you for all that you do!!!!!

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