By Joan Brock. 4th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 23rd, 2020 - 03:32:58 AM.
Suddenly the weaker part of me that had wanted to downplay and make excuses for her behavior had to face a very harsh reality. I was horrifyingly thrust into the truth, because theres no way to downplay a tragedy of this magnitude. My denial was instantaneously "outed." Once you see that youve been denying whats true, or in my case, pretending it "wasnt as bad" as it seemed, youre swamped with guilt. Regret, blame, disgrace, self-condemnation and failure pull up a chair and take root in your psyche, becoming your unwanted constant companions. Once youve been "outed" in such a big way, its time to admit to yourself (and others) what you did well, but also where you dropped the ball and retreated. Whether its a failed friendship, a failed relationship or marriage, or having failed as a parent, life always gives you the opportunity (yes, I said opportunity) to step out of pretense and back into reality.
The "rules" and "guidelines" for schools are complex and dictated to them by the prevailing winds of politics, either state, federal or both. How they approach instruction depends on many factors, the most telling being that they have been identified as a "school in crisis". Remediation Remediation has been used consistently in the past but generally is not approved for schools in crisis. The purpose was to work with students at their reading/math level until they mastered the skills allowing them to achieve at the level and pace of their peers. This approach may be appropriate for the child who is slightly behind his class, either because he had a long-term absence or other factors interfered with his learning at the time the skills were taught. The problem with remediation has always been that teachers taught the students the skills for which they assumed the students were now ready. They have not addressed the missing skills (possibly skills that should have been in place years before that teacher ever met the child) that caused the reading/math skills to be low in the first place.
Moving to first grade meant moving away from the very secluded kindergarten classrooms and playgrounds. We spent a few different afternoons walking around the classrooms and visiting the new playground. When we discovered which classroom my child was in, we went there two or three times to make it comfortable to find and remember. Our school offers kindergartners the opportunity to buy hot lunch the very last two weeks of the school year so that the kids are comfortable with the cafeteria and lunch lines before they enter first grade. I made sure my daughters bought lunch several times in those two weeks so they could experience the new routine.
A few minutes later I sent her an email and apologized. She responded to my email a few days later with a simple Apology Accepted, an emoji thumbs up, and a wish for a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Just like that I had apologized, and she accepted. It was over. Something I have worried about on and off for almost 40 years was over. Im not sure what I was afraid of or what I expected to feel, its not like she would have actually called me, its not like Id bump into at the grocery store, we lived almost 1,000 miles from each other, but I was still afraid. I guess I expected to make my amends and feel great, like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders, but I didnt. I expected to see unicorns outside my window sliding down a rainbow giving me a high five, but I didnt see that either. I just thought to myself, OK check that off the list.
An example of remediation in reading is when the child is chronologically in the 4th grade but reads at the 2nd grade level. Remedial instruction presents the student with materials written at the 2nd grade level and has the child read them. The problem is that the child may not have the decoding skills for vocabulary or the language skills to understand the complex sentences of anything written above 2nd grade level. Both of these problems are typical of special education children and have the root of the problem in skills that most children master at 4 and 5 years of age. Unfortunately, the assumptions made by most people in education are that everyone is equally ready for school by the time they enroll in kindergarten.
Have you seen that TV show, "Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" The adult contestants compete to win dollars if they can answer typical 1st through 5th grade questions, and they get help from some 5th grade classmates. Rarely do the adult contestants win, and the questions include areas that most of us have long forgotten as we watch the energetic 5th grade classmates get the right answers almost every time. When the adult contestant misses a question it prompts the defensive shameful behavior that we learn along the way in life. In the rare instance that a 5th grader misses, they look reflective, perhaps disappointed, but move along to do better on the next question. My 4th grade girls have yet to learn how uncool it is to show your vulnerability or to be ashamed of how you might be different from others. They just are who they are, excited about life, and learning and full of curiosity and bright energy. I was reminded by the school counselor that just about all of that will change by the time they reach 6th grade. Im sure she is right. My hope is they will remember just a few things about being happy and staying curious to take into adulthood and for some, into meaningful leadership roles.
Any content, trademark’s, or other material that might be found on the 74state website that is not 74state’s property remains the copyright of its respective owner/s. In no way does 74state claim ownership or responsibility for such items, and you should seek legal consent for any use of such materials from its owner.