I had a meeting with both Mrs. Fullerton and Mrs Williams in the principals office today at 10. The meeting lasted approx 50 minutes and I walked away feeling relieved and hopeful.
The meeting started with me talking for about 15 minutes making sure we were all on the same page with the concerns we had.
I brought up the phone calls, the notes, the frustrations etc...
Then we let Mrs Fullerton who is his guidance counselor and Friendship group leader have her say since she has dealt with Sam for the last 4 months. She went on to say that though Sam was shy and introverted in class...he by NO means seemed to be "delayed" in ANY way. And from what she has observed he has just had a difficult time adjusting. His academics are fine, and he is not a behavior problem. Just a normal 7 year old little boy who is a little "lost" right now. Struggling a little "socially". Sh was going to spend some one on one time with him and get an idea of how he is feeling since maybe he is worried about MY feelings.
Then it was Mrs. Williams (the principals) turn....she went on to say that she had just come from observing Sam in Mrs Angels class (his reading teacher) and that he seemed quite comfortable there. Even when given an assignment to do on his own. She went on to repeat that she looked through all his files and that he had had comments in the past about independence and needing that tiny nudge....but for the most part was an EXCELLENT student (her words not mine).
BUT... she was ALSO concerned that Sam was backtracking in the fact that he was pretty open in NC and completely closed off here....but went on to say that the BIGGEST mistake she thinks I could make right now is pulling him out of 2nd or making him repeat it. Because he is too smart to be going backwards, and if all this, is really about a self esteem issue then that would big the biggest blow we could give him. She re-iterated that he DID NOT need to repeat any grade NOR be pulled out and placed back in 1st. (I agreed, as thats what I thought too, but when your grasping at straws here...lol) She said she would continue to "pop" in on Sam's class to see how he is as well...and see how he is interacting with Mrs Taylor.
I also let them know he had started karate last week, and was starting cub scouts this Sat....and Mrs Williams went on to say how in the 18 years she has been principal she has seen karate do an ENORMOUS amount of good in SO many different areas in students. focus. confidence. organization. respect. etc...
So that we were taking EXACTLY the right first step...
We all talked more on things, and she said she would talk to Mrs Taylor and ask her to have a little more patience with Sam..she would bring up the concerns I had, and ask her to maybe give him a little nudge, or word of ENCOURAGEMENT to get him going. Because thats how Sam rolls....
:) :) :)
We are waiting 2 weeks and then meeting again to see if the karate and the help from Mrs Taylor has made a difference...
I am already seeing one when he puts that uniform on and how he is excited to tell people at school. So maybe this IS what he needed. ! :)
P.S HUGE thanks to Tera, Rach, Mom and Popo for all your support. Family and friends ROCK!~
I spoke with Mrs. Williams (the principal) yesterday...and asked her if she had been updated on my situation and the situation involving Sam. She said she had talked to both Mrs Taylor (homeroom), Mrs Angel (reading) , AND Mrs Fullerton (guidance counselor and runs his friendship group)...and after speaking to them AND reviewing his files from last year....
He is doing ok, and fine.
Now correct me if I'm wrong but if a teacher calls you 3 or 4 times to tell you your son isn't socializing well, or is "disconnected" in class...wouldn't you want to find out WHY.?
So you try to look into it..speaking to everyone involved with your son to get their advice..(especially School personnel)
You have his MAIN teacher (the one who has called you those times)...tell you she has an issue and thinks Sam may be "to young" for 2nd grade..that his age seems to play a role in his level of comprehension.... and "maybe he isn't ready" or it's ADD.....
You hear from his main teacher that his reading teacher has ALSO said this...
So you call his guidance counselor to get advice..have her tell you SHE has actually been leading the friendship group and he has GROWN wonderfully..... and from the interaction SHE'S observed....he IS on the shy side...but gets comfortable quickly and seems fine. He DOES need a nudge every now and then though. Then goes on to say she has seen him in the hall and he actually STOPS and engages some of the 1st graders in conversation, and she says, seems EXTREMELY comfortable. Maybe, she suggests..he would be more comfortable...
You call the principal to arrange a meeting between all of you so you can sit down with everyone at once and make an educated decision...
She calls you back and tells you the above..."It's FINE"...
she also said I should take him to an allergist....
he MAY have developed allergies in the move here, and has a constant head cold that keeps him in a fog, and affects his hearing. Thus the feeling of "disconnection"
I tell her I am willing to do whatever at this point.... but I STILL want that meeting.
She has a call come up, has to go, and will call me back to schedule one.
O.k where to begin. I am so stressed, confused, exasperated, upset, frustrated and downright ready to scream.
My WONDERFUL, BRIGHT, SWEET son is not adjusting well to this new school in VA.
I don't know what it is.
He did WONDERFUL in kindergarten and GREAT in 1st grade when we were in NC. He had plenty of friends and really seemed to THRIVE there....even being the youngest kid in the class.
This year...he has turned from this happy, outgoing, confident little boy....to this solemn, UN confident, lonely little boy.
I keep getting phone calls from his 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Taylor...saying that Sam isn't "connected" in class (her words not mine) She says that he hasn't made any friends and that even when the other teachers and students try to engage him on the playground he shuts down. He has also taken to saying things like "I don't like myself.."I hate me"....and "I'm not good enough"
OK Dr Phil....what the hell? I have been a DIE HARD watcher of your parenting shows, and up to this point have TOTALLY agreed with everything...
you CAN praise your child to much...you CAN love them too much. You CAN over-do it with "way to go's" so much that they actually expect it from everyone and NEED it to move forward.
Sam has had NOTHING but POSITIVE encouragement and words from us...even when he gets into trouble. Don't get me wrong...I get upset! But I try to let them know its the behavior I dont agree with and THATS why I'm upset.
Yeah...Well I think my "atta boy's" and "way to go's" and "thats so awesome's" must have been poured on a little too thickly. Because he has no CONFIDENCE in anything he does now. The teachers say he has to double check with them about everything (he does this at home so I KNOW this drives poor Mrs Taylor crazy!!) Even when you say it's ok..he will ask you 3 more times!! She says that she asks the students to do things, and Sam will sit there or ask what he is supposed to do instead of picking up clues by looking around at the other students. If she gives more that 3 instructions he follows the 1st one and then sits there. During our last conversation (last week) she even mentioned ADD. WHAT!?!?! I'm NO expert by any means...but REALLY!?!?! She says he loses focus and seems "disconnected" in class. Then she also goes on to say that he is he is by NO means a behavioural problem.... but that he just doesn't seems to grasp things. She thinks it has to do with his age.
Bless Mrs Taylors heart because I can imagine how hard it must be to have 22 other students in your class, and to constantly have the SAME student need to be reassured or helped...I am trying SO hard to see things from her point of view. BUT...(and I KNOW all you teachers will hate me or at the very least disagree with me) in my opinion...that's part of the job, and instead of focusing on all the negative that is happening why not focus on the positive (like the fact that he reads at a 4th grade level and can spell like a champ..or has the memory of an elephant) and work towards a SOLUTION.
To me...she is just getting more and more frustrated and Sam is suffering for it. I know that she cant coddle him (and I would NEVER ask her to...OR to take time away from any of the other students)...and I know he has to learn to deal with different issues and people....BUT HE JUST TURNED 7 YEARS OLD!!!!!
He is in a NEW AREA...NEW SCHOOL, NEW NEIGHBORHOOD, NEW TEACHER, NEW STUDENTS, NEW way of doing things....NEW EVERYTHING!!! She has been teaching for 20 years....and according to her....she has never come across a student like Sam.
How is that supposed to make me feel? He gets his work done..he doesnt cause problems...but yet....UGH! THERE'S my frustration!!!
If any of you personally KNOW Sam then you know what a sensitive boy he is...and when he gets into trouble (ESPECIALLY in front of people) he takes it VERY hard. She has mentioned several times that she has had to talk to him in front of the class (not for things he did wrong but to ask him why he isn't doing what the other students are..or calling him out for being shy)...and I have tried to tell her that with sam that is exactly the WRONG ( I can't say this enough!) thing to do. She doesnt get it.
I GET that she has 21 other student to think about..
I GET that she cant stop EVERY time Sam has a question or "issue"
I GET that she is getting frustrated with my son
I GET that she is getting frustrated with me.
My question in where is the solution?
Now please forgive me if I jump around a bit here but I am just trying to get everything I have had pent up for the last 3 months out. AND I AM SOOOO FRUSTRATED!
After getting off the phone with the guidance counselor ( a few minutes ago) from the school. I am REALLY leaning towards pulling him out of 2nd grade. She also happens to be the group leader in a friendship therapy class I enrolled him in a few weeks into the year when I noticed he wasnt "clicking" with anyone. She said he as grown leaps and bounds in that class, socializing with the other students and participating in the role plays they do..even picking the friends to do them with.......but she said, after talking to his reading teacher and homeroom teacher, and observing him at recess in the playground...he lacks self confidence and may struggle even more in 3rd grade next year since it is harder, they expect more from the students and there are SOL test's to take. He DOES fine in all his school work area's (according to his teacher's) Math is good, SS is good, Music is good, He DOES have issues with reading the instructions on the paper and following them from there. But if his school work is fine...then WHAT IS GOING ON WITH HIM!?!?
I just DONT know what to do.. Is this something he'll outgrow? I thought by enrolling him in Karate (which he starts today) it would build up his self confidence and focus, and then I signed him up for cub scouts too...so he can gain even MORE confidence, learn new things, and make new friends. Do I wait it out and see if it helps? Do I pull him out now and save the frustration? Do I let him work it out? WHAT?!?!
Being a mom is SO hard! Wish someone had warned me! :) Or at least wrote a DETAILED manual! lol
So.....that all being said....I know how sensitive he is and I have already broached the subject of maybe doing 2nd grade next year...and he got REALLY PHYSICALLY upset. Saying he wasnt good enough and no one likes him! *shakes her head* I pray he really doesn't feel this way!
Then after thinking about it... thought maybe I should pull him out of 2nd NOW and put him back into 1st NOW so he can make his friends (1st graders are more open to a new student) ...I may try and broach it from a point of view that he could maybe help some of the other 1st graders since he has already done that work and not only did it but did AWESOME in 1st grade (THATS why I'm having such a hard time with my decision..it just doesn't make any sense for him to back track the way he has been doing..from this bright, happy little man...to what he is today. Is it the school? The teacher? Me? Him? *sigh*
So far, later this week I am meeting with Mrs Williams the principal, and his guidance counselor soon. See what the options are.