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Scary Pumpkins

posted Thursday October 8th, 2009

pumpkin paint

This morning was my first chance this school year to volunteer in Sophie’s classroom. I scurried around, dropping the girls at school then grabbing Starbucks for Miss Y (and Ms X, of course), and I’d just skidded to a stop at the school office and grabbed the volunteer book to sign in when I saw the school nurse.

She had something to tell me.

Sophie failed both her vision and hearing tests. Super. I had a feeling it was coming (even though, to be honest, I don’t see issues with either Sophie’s hearing or sight, and I look for signs constantly) and made a note on my hand to schedule more tests.

That was on my mind when I entered Miss Y’s classroom to begin my morning job overseeing the creation of pumpkin paintings for the hallway bulletin board — but I was quickly distracted by the goings-ons in the classroom.

I can’t offer much in detail because I don’t want to violate any privacy rules, but let’s just say that it’s not fair to ask any one person — even the amazing Miss Y — to run that classroom. As others have murmured already this year, Sophie is the least of her concerns — at least, she was this morning, particularly since the special ed teacher has begun her inclusion work in the classroom, meaning she wound up helping not just Sophie but a few other kids as well.

There are several Tough Kids with a capital T in that room, and a few others I’d stick a lowercase t on. At least one of those kids (not counting Sophie) should have a full time aide — no doubt about it.

Miss Y kept a smile on her face, ringing her yoga chimes to get the kids’ attention and never losing her cool. I smiled, but inside I was seathing. No wonder no one lasts long as a teacher. If I was this woman, I’d run screaming from the classroom.

At least it was a distraction from thinking about the appointments I’ll need to make this afternoon. And I got, oh, about a dozen hugs from Sophie — who was very happy to have me in her room.

I was glad to be there, too. And even happier when it was time to leave.

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Tags: Filed under: first grade by Amysilverman

5 Responses to “Scary Pumpkins”

  1. It really is the toughest job, in my book. And I’m not just saying that because I come from a long line of teachers. And it is thankless, because everyone thinks they can do it and do it better.
    I have SO had that feeling, of being glad to leave.
    It is kind of nice to learn your kid isn’t the “problem” though, isn’t it?
    And Starbucks coffee for all the teachers? You must be everyone’s favorite mom.
    Sorry about the vision/hearing thing. Isn’t it pretty easy to fail those though? I mean how high tech could the school tests be? Maybe she’ll do better when tested at a different setting.
    I dread glasses for the kiddo(s), though I’m blind as a bat and I don’t have DS, so I know it’s coming, eventually.
    BIYB. Miss you!

  2. My son failed his hearing tests around sophie’s age as well. It turned out to be more of an attention thing and less of an actual hearing thing. He does not have ds by the way. I think most kids at that age have problems paying attention.

  3. I’m not sure those tests at school are very accurate, in my experience but those are good things to keep up with anyway.
    You are such a good mom- coffee for the teachers! I wouldn’t be a teacher if they paid me millions!

  4. For some reason, those capital-T tough kids do often end up grouped in one class. The joke at my high school is that counselors must have personal vendettas when they build our schedules. Usually when administrators are scheduling observations I have one class in particular to which I invite them: “Wanna see me earn my money (millions though it’s not)?” I ask. Maybe it’s different in the teenage years, but I almost always end up loving the capital-Ts the most.

    During Savasana one time, the yoga teacher waxed on about “those” people in our lives, and how they are our true teachers. That meditation changed my life (at least with respect to dealing with capital-Ts). Now when I’m about to enter a pissing contest with one of them, I can say to myself, what are you here to teach me? It’s usually something I really need to learn.

    Amy, I love how you “get” teachers, and in getting them, you support, empathize, and stand in awe. Thanks, man.

  5. Mr. Kittymama is an elementary school nurse. I’ve volunteered to help him do hearing and vision screenings. Really little kids, the neurotypical and chromosomally standard ones included, are shy and confused and won’t pay attention. And when they use shapes instead of letters on the chart, a lot of them don’t even know their shapes. They suggest they can call the heart an apple, if heart seems an unfamiliar shape. I said, “Or a butt,” and he said there really was a kid who called the heart shape “cow butt.”

    On the other hand, I could read starting at age 3 but no one realized until second grade that I was terribly nearsighted and needed glasses desperately.

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