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New to this site, seeking advice or expereince re: 4th grade son


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RedFlame January 21, 2009


Hi, My 4th grade son, while smart and thoughtful, is not a motivated student.  In addition he is struggling with some anxiety issues.  I am beginning to wonder if the public school system is "good enough" to address his needs.  I think he has had some pretty good teachers, but on the other hand, there seems to be very little time or creativity on the side of the teachers to address students like my son, who need a little extra push.  I don't fault the teachers, as I am fairly certain they are overloaded with responsibilities.  On the other hand, last year, one of his teachers actually complained to me about students in her class who didn't seem to care about learning, and I remember thinking, but isn't it the teacher's job to reach out to those students and ignite an interest?


Anyway, each year I keep saying, so far it's acceptable and I won't look into alternatives.....but then I ask myself, what am I waiting for anyway?  Last year we had an incident with the school in which they administered an assessment (psychological in nature) without my prior consent, and shortly after that my son started exhibiting a lot of anxiety and issues.  So the question is, did the school catch it early, or did their actions have deeper consequences. 


Any advice or suggestions, or perhaps some of you have dealt with something similar with one of your children.  How did you help your child, did you stay with the public schools, even if you found them somewhat lacking for one of your kids, and fine for another?  Thanks!


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sherylem1 January 22, 2009


Good luck, say lots of prayers. I am sorry you all are having to go thru this - it is very hard when it is your kids. take care. sheryle

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hockeymum January 22, 2009


You may want to check out this site : gifted development/visual spatial learners.
http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Visual_Spatial_Learner/vsl.htm
"organization than auditory-sequential learners. They learn better visually than auditorally. They learn all-at-once, and when the light bulb goes on, the learning is permanent. They do not learn from repetition and drill. They are whole-part learners who need to see the big picture first before they learn the details. They are non-sequential, which means that they do not learn in the step-by-step manner in which most teachers teach. They arrive at correct solutions without taking steps, so "show your work" may be impossible for them. They may have difficulty with easy tasks, but show amazing ability with difficult, complex tasks. "

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TeacherParent January 22, 2009


I'd agree with you that it's the teacher's job to reach out and ignite interest but a great many other teachers wouldn't agree. Complaining about 'unmotivated students' has become almost a bloodsport in modern schools...
I took one of my sons out of public school for one reason and then eventually took the other one out for a different reason. When parents ask me what to do, I always need to ask - what are your alternatives? Not everybody has them. Are there other schools within reasonable traveling distance that are affordable?
If there are, you're very fortunate. Many people find their local school 'somewhat lacking' but feel they have to stay and make the best of it. I found my own local school district to be more and more 'rote' - less and less thought went into curriculum, the district felt on 'autopilot' to me. Discouraged teachers, no sense of positive energy and very old fashioned ideas about children and parents. There were some very good teachers and when we had one of them, it made everything else better but when we didn't have one of them it made putting up with everything almost unbearable. The smoke wafting out of the teachers' lounge was not a plus.... the playground problems that went unaddressed, the ever absent principal...

My sons enjoyed school - they looked forward to it. When that changed, it was a signal to me that maybe we'd better change schools - if possible. When I asked questions of the school or made suggestions, they'd always explain 'This is the way it has to be." but they were never able to tell me why or ever acknowledge there was room for improvement. I wanted a school that would be responsive to parents rather than stonewalling them and a school that emphasized creativity and innovation for the teachers as well as for the students.
I never found the perfect school but I did find something better. My unhappy son became happy - for a while - and my happy son was delirious with joy at the idea there would no longer be 25 students in a room and every student was welcome on a sports team and in the school play.
That your son administers psychological testing without parental consent is concerning - I have to say I've never heard of that. The worst of schools is usually too afraid of a good law suit to do such a thing - something very sloppy is going on there.
Good luck with this - these are never easy decisions.

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RedFlame January 23, 2009


Thanks for the link hockeymum, it's interesting that you pointed out the big picture learning style, my husband is a big picture kind of guy, and when I ask him to show me or teach me how to do something (say on the computer) he has a hard time breaking it down into sequential steps for me...wonder if that's a hereditary pattern, probably....very interesting!!!!!

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RedFlame January 23, 2009


Thank you Teacher Parent for your insight and sharing your story. As luck would have it, the school had just undergone training on picking up language that signaled a problem for the kids (we probably had a kid in the district who was depressed and needed help and he or she got ignored, therefore the school was trying to beef up their response and awareness.) The timing couldn't have been worse, plus the kids all had spring fever, the teachers were climbing up the walls with their kids all over the place....

I wrote a letter after that whole thing, sent it to representatives on the school board, the state senate and district reps, etc. etc. I have been handled with kid gloves by the head of the psych dept. because I think it's pretty evident that IF I wanted to pursue it, I would probalby have a legal case against them. I'm satisfied however with the actions that have been taken.

Like you said, it's the lack of teacher innovation that is so frustrating. I know my kids have gotten some outstanding teachers, but their resources are slimmer and slimmer, time is dwindling and they simply "can't" teach outside of the mainstream.

Once again, thanks!



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