Academic Tango

Wizard’s jousts with school are well-documented here.

[Search the "school" and "kids" categories for background.]

I haven’t complained about him in a while, not because there haven’t been issues, but because my attention has been diverted. Why is it that when Wizard screws up in school, I’m the one who gets pressure in my chest? Here’s the latest.

Wizard is now in 6th grade, Middle School, at Private Prep. It’s his third year at this school, and he is very familiar with the curriculum and procedures. His transition to Middle School was relatively smooth because Private Prep segregates its 4th and 5th grades into an Intermediate School. In the IS, the students have homerooms and lockers; they switch classes; and they are taught – some argue how successfully – to be responsible for their own work. Wizard’s 4th grade homeroom teacher dragged him through the year, trying to teach him time and paper management. Wizard’s 5th grade teacher, also head of the IS, never rode herd on the kid like he should have. Therefore, Wizard bumbled through the year missing many important deadlines and screwing off until there were a series of crises. We handled them. Wizard’s IS teachers assured us that he was ready for Middle School, but that he would have to improve his responsibility and attention to detail. Yeah, right.

In the first quarter of this school year, Wizard brought home fabulous interim grades, nearly all As. However, the final 1st quarter report card showed 4Bs and 2 As, one of which was in P.E. WineGuy and I were furious. It turns out that Wizard has been sloppy and misplacing papers, assignments, grade slips to be assigned, everything. He was turning assignments in days and days late, if at all, and blowing off scads of others. I started getting daily emails (again) from teachers asking for work to be turned in or tests to be signed, about which I knew virtually nothing. When I was in San Antonio in early October 2007, WineGuy got so pissed at Wizard that he dragged the kid in early to school to meet with the science teacher and the homeroom teacher. WineGuy then moved Wizard into a 3x/week study skills class, with a teacher Wizard respects, to try and turn things around. Then, my father died, and I was gone for days. Then, the whole Jeopardy! hullaballoo took place and distracted us all. Wizard’s work deteriorated further.

Finally, WineGuy came up with a solution to actively police homework, and we implemented it about a week ago. I check the daily assignments posted on the school’s website and interrogate Wizard before he gets in the car each afternoon. “Do you have your red binder? Do you have your planner? Did you write down your homework in detail? Do you have your book? Do you have your notebook? Do you have your workbook? Do you have your worksheet? Did you turn in X, Y, and Z that were due today?” Repeat, ad infinitum, for Language Arts, Advanced Math, Science, History, and Spanish. As a result, Wizard had a good week . . . at least in Science.

However, Wizard just called me school. His Language Arts teacher made him call and explain why he hadn’t turned in some analysis for a book they’re reading. She gave him a zero for that assignment on a recent grade report, and I saw this when I signed the grade slip yesterday. He claimed the teacher did not ask for the assignment. Wrong! He lost the papers . . . twice . . . and lied to her and me about it. What else is new? ::rolling eyes:: I did not yell at the child, nor did I raise my voice. I told him to ask the teacher for yet another worksheet; I instructed him to complete it by the end of today and to turn it in by 4:00 p.m. Then the Language Arts teacher, Fat Bat, gets on the phone: “I don’t know how or why he does this, but I’m very upset and disappointed that he lied about yada, yada, yada . . . .” Yakking on and on with an attitude. I stopped her in mid-rant. “Lady, I have heard this all before about my kid. Yes, he’s smart. Yes, he’s a liar. No, we do not condone this type of behavior, but would you give me a @#$%* break? I have enough to handle right now. Don’t call me and bitch about something that you let go for 10 days. Email me. Call me. Immediately! I emailed the same request to you weeks ago to keep me informed. Get off your fat ass and help me help my kid.” Who despises you. (So do I.)

Two steps forward and one step back: the Academic Tango.

Meet The Hillbillies:  Day 9, NaBloPoMo 2006 

2 thoughts on “Academic Tango

  1. Oh, dear. This sounds an awful lot like how I was in fifth and sixth grade. I really didn’t care, so I didn’t do some stuff or turn it in. I didn’t see the point. I’m seeing it with my six year old already in first grade. EEEK!
    His big sister has always been such an overachiever that I never had to worry about her not turning anything in. With this one….well, my mom was right when she said I’d pay for my raising!

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