Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Impressions

I've been thinking a lot about the impressions that I give to people lately and I really can't figure out how I feel about it all. Here recently Huston has had a hard time dealing with a few things. The one morning a week preschool has it's pluses and minuses. He always seems to have a good time while he is there, but here lately it has been a real psychological battle for him to gear himself up to go. He has had a lot of separation anxiety lately - not only for Wednesday morning preschool, so that phase (cause I really do just think its a phase) coupled with a few other factors has made him a bit of a sad boy.

The teacher has started to notice and talked to me about him this morning. I'm glad she did because I had thought that Huston pretty much snapped out of his sadness the moment I left.... she told me that for the most part he does, it's just that here lately he has had a few moments of drama concerning some things that have happened at school and he will then get really sad and cry. She said that she needed help in knowing how to help him cope with things in class.

I immediately felt bad for Huston....then I felt bad because I feel like I've made a bad impression with the teacher from the get-go of the school year....and I am afraid that her impression of us may not be totally accurate, and then I feel bad because my impression of her impression may not be accurate either....confused? I know I am.

Basically Huston is at school to have fun. I want him to try new things that we can't or won't do around here because of little hands reaching to destroy or reaching for objects to quickly stuff into their mouths. Huston's class is offered three mornings a week and he is the only child in the class that does not attend 3 mornings a week (strike one). You see, Huston attended just one morning a week last year and it was awesome. He loved it, the teacher (who is a personal friend) was so great and the lessons didn't seem to build on each other - so when Huston showed up on Wednesday morning it was a brand new day with new activities to do.

That is not the case this time. This is a PreK class, which means the teacher's ultimate objective is to get the child ready for kindergarten. Huston isn't going to kindergarten (strike two). I can't afford to send him to class three mornings a week and I wouldn't send him that often even if I could afford it because academics is not our priority at this time. I told the teacher this in a survey she gave to each parent to fill out regarding personal insight/information of her new students. When I said that my goal for Huston was fun and not academics I think this very organized, goal-oriented teacher was a bit disappointed. I told her I was planning to home school and that I was of the school of thought that involved kids just being kids for as long as they could and that the academics would come when they were ready....and I think in a weird way this might have intimidated her...I don't think she knows what to do with Huston - and it might be because of me.

When the teacher sent out her welcome letter for the year she really emphasized the importance of the children attending all three mornings because each day would build upon the other. So now I think we are at a difficult place because of a whole array of factors and it's compounded upon by Huston's current, weird separation issue. And I don't know what to do.

1. Huston just wants to have fun.
2. He can't/won't attend all three mornings of school.
3. He's overwhelmed because the other kids are further along in projects - because they are there longer to work on them. (strike three - nothing frustrates Huston more than being overwhelmed by a task before him).
4. Mommy and teacher have different educational philosophies and this may or may not have tainted the teacher/student relationship.
5. BUT through all of this Huston still comes home happy most every time...proudly showing me the simple craft and worksheet he has finished.

So what can I do? I reminded the teacher that Huston is overwhelmed by large tasks, but if they are broken down into simple steps for him he is more than likely to come around and succeed. I thanked her for telling me about the situation and I will start to talk to Huston about not worrying about what everyone else is doing/has done in class and just have fun with what is going on. (Which, can I tell you, is exactly why I don't want my children in the "school system" so early...why would I want to stress a 4 year old out over his ABCs???)

But really am I just trying to stuff a square peg in a round hole? Maybe this just isn't a good fit for him....but I don't want to give up on it just because it's difficult....there could be a good lesson in this for all of us. *Sigh* - who said preschool is easy?!

Anyway, through all of this I think making a blanket judgment about a person based on your first impression is so very dangerous...getting off on the wrong foot with this teacher has just led us down a yucky path. I feel like quitting will just seal the bad impression we've created....but really it just might not be my job to worry about how others perceive me... hmmm....

3 comments:

Mom H said...

Does Gran need to go tell them to quit picking on my boy? :)

RK said...

For what it's worth, I'm finding myself in a similar situation with all our crazy therapy/pre-pre K stuff. I'm already starting to think that the assumed 5 days/week for 1/2 days is not going to be the way we go when she turns 3. Three! That's alot, I think, even if she does "need" all the extra help and therapy with preschool. I cancelled 2 weeks of therapy just to kind of get a fresh perspective and rethink what our goals really are.

Blah blah...that doesn't really coincide I guess, but when I read this I feel like I can imagine your quandry, of sorts.

Oh, and we're assumed to be the "problem family" since we had that whole photo-taking fiasco with our former therapists... I don't like that that's what everyone seems to hear about us first when coming on to our case.

Our Four Sons said...

Triston is enrolled in preschool two mornings per week and Zack four mornings a week due to his IEP. I think that the two days are just about the right amount, but everyone in Triston's class only goes that often. In my opinion, the four days a week are overkill, since he only gets 20-30 minutes of speech each day. He'd do better playing with his brothers than having the schedule/structure of preschool.

Of course I am of the philosophy of working with the boys as much as possible to have their ABCs, numbers and such. I can do that at home. I too wanted the boys preschool or Austin's 1/2 day kindergarten more for fun than academics. I think with the standards that children are expected to meet anymore that preschools are pretty academic and its hard to find one that isn't.