I think Mie is doing well. Lately, she’s been teaching all of us about space. She’s been reading a lot about space and wondering about it. ‘Mum, if we wanted to ice skate (on whatever moon it is that’s made of ice), we’d need special shoes so we don’t fly off into space. Maybe we could tie lots of bark on our feet, or metal.’ It’s unusual for her to involve us so much, so it’s been wonderful.
Yesterday, she told me about school. I can’t quite explain what a big deal this is. She told me she’d been on the playground at lunch, she told me about her reading group, about learning about board bridges, suspension bridges and arch bridges. She told me she’d made a bridge out of paper. She told me she’s in a reading group, but doesn’t know who’s in it because she’s paying attention to the reading, not looking around. I think I got her talking by saying:’Tell me about…’ It was incredible. She talked for, like, twenty minutes.
I’d noticed a picture of elephants in her writing book, but no words. I asked her about it. Did you have writing today. She said they didn’t. I knew they would have had writing and was trying to investigate why she hadn’t written anything. I talked about how she should listen to the teacher and do as she’s asked, because that’s all part of learning. She just sat quietly and turned her head away.
At school today, I caught up with the teacher and said Mie had told me about school and her reading group. More information than I’ve had from her in probably about 18 months. The teacher butted in and said:’but she didn’t participate’, ‘I couldn’t get any work out of her’, ‘she didn’t do any maths’ ‘or reading or writing.’ I had to take a deep breath. I gently asked how the picture of the elephants got in her book. The teacher said: ’she saw me glue it in there, I put it in there.’ I took another deep breath and attempted to explain that Mie probably hadn’t processed that it was her book, her picture etc. It’s like her brain can’t see what’s right in front of her, if she hasn’t understood it or can’t place it in her world. The teacher didn’t get it. She seemed rushed. I felt awful.
The teacher then said that Mie didn’t have her book bag or her spelling book yesterday, so she couldn’t practice her spelling. I took a deep breath (lots of breathing is required in my life :o) and said that it was definitely in her bag. Inside I was fuming. I always ensure that Mie has everything she needs at school, so there’s nothing extra to worry her.
Two days prior I’d informed the teacher that Mie loves her spelling and could spell all the words she’d been asked to practise and had been practising every day. I don’t know what it must have felt like to Mie, but to me it was such a disappointment for the teacher not to remember this. This was Mie’s chance to shine. She’d proudly practised. As if she needed her book to figure out what her words were. You could wake her in the middle of the night and ask her to spell them and she’d happily rattle them off. It’s just so frustrating that the school system doesn’t allow for the teacher to have time to spend with Mie.
I feel like the teacher and I are on two (very) separate pages. My goal is to get Mie comfortable at school. To get her to communicate with the teacher and with us. To ensure she’s happy. The teacher seems to be all about ‘getting work out of her.’ How can I get her to understand that Mie is incredibly clever and the work will flow out of her with ease, as soon as she’s comfortable. She needs to understand the routine. She needs to know her place. She needs to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together in her way, in her sparkly mind. Then everything will flow.
In the last few months Mie has learnt:
- To dress herself, be it school clothes, regular clothes, ski clothes, swimming clothes etc
- To clear her dishes off the table
- To get ready for bed (teeth, toilet, clothes)
- To get ready for school
- To get her lunchbox out of her bag
- To play with her play therapist
- To transition from reading to eating
- To walk into class by herself
- To do art with me
- To get ready for skiing
- To ride chairlifts with her brother, without her parents
- To ski fast down mountains
- To groom a horse and walk a horse
She may need prompts at times, but generally there’s so many things that flow for her. School will flow for her too, once she understands it, how she needs to understand it. Just because her spelling book isn’t in the correct basket, doesn’t mean she hasn’t brought it…it means she doesn’t understand to put it there, why it goes there, who’s it is, what it’s for etc.
Maybe it would help if I extracted my brain so Mie could bring it to school with her and show all the knowledge to her peers and the teacher. I’m still learning learning learning every day. About myself and about her. Also, about our whole family. I want to learn. I want to live, love and learn.
I was ready to homeschool Mie after that drop-off, but when I picked her up the teacher informed me that Mie had had a great day and participated in everything. I probably worry too much about school…