I made the mistake of not opening the backpack on Thursday afternoon (Friday was a teacher planning day). I waited until Monday morning before we headed out the door to make my discovery.
My boy is failing science. And has a low C in social studies.
Report cards come out next week, so I guess this was his teacher's way of giving me a heads up. His pink sheet - the one that comes home every week that lets me know about his behavior and work skills was the worst one yet. Off task. Not prepared for class. Disrupting class. Running.
I had to ask about that one... apparently he was running in the hall and crashed into someone. Oh.
Up until recently, my boy was a model student. Always quiet. Always did his homework. Always paid attention in class. He would get in trouble for drawing during class (on blank paper and on his work), but he's a doodler. It's how he focuses his attention. He hears everything if he can doodle. His second grade teacher understood this, but none since then have. He also gets in trouble for reading.
You heard right. Reading.
It seems that he keeps a book on his lap during class and reads it under the desk when he should be paying attention or doing his class work. Punishing him by withholding "Fun Friday" and sending him to study hall doesn't make a dent - he'd rather go to study hall so he can read.
I have to admit that I got a little angry with him. We've been over the behavior problems. We've talked to his teacher. We go over his homework with him after he finishes it. It's frustrating when it doesn't seem to make a dent in his brain.
The thing is... he's smart. Scary smart. His little brain makes connections that grownups take a long time to make. His ideas about math are amazing. And time. This kid could very well invent the first viable time machine. Except for school.
He should be in the gifted program, but if he continues like this, he'll wind up on the short bus because no one will see his brilliance, just the problems he causes, the work he doesn't do, and the listening he doesn't seem to accomplish. And that worries me a lot.
I don't ask for straight A's or A's and B's. A C here and there won't hurt much. But he needs to be doing his best, not sitting there on his butt waiting for good grades to show up, or expecting good marks in behavior because he's so darned cute and charming.
See, when I was in school, I skated. I went to class, I listened. But I never studied anything. I aced all my tests and with the exception of typing (oh, the irony), made straight A's. I was LAZY too.
And you know what? If I had it to do all over again, I'd apply myself. I would push myself harder than anyone else could ever push me. I would not only excel in school, but I would go to college and get degrees. Lots of them. And I would have a career with possibilities.
Because I'm stuck. I am, actually, quite excellent in my job. But it's as far as I'll ever go in my organization because I don't have a degree. I won't ever be paid like a college graduate, even though I do my job just as well as I would with that piece of paper...
"Why don't you go back to school?" you may be asking. Well, let me tell you... once you're out of school and start having to make a living, it's mighty hard to go back. It's expensive and time consuming - especially when you have a mortgage to meet, mouths to feed, a kid to raise and a husband that needs your time too. By the time I hit the hay every night, I am so exhausted that my eyes are spinning in their sockets because my muscles can't seem to hold them still anymore. How would I ever accomplish going to classes and studying on top of everything else?
Perhaps when the boy is older and better able to fend for himself (or decides he doesn't need Mommy so much anymore) I'll go back. Get a degree in... something. In the meantime, I will continue doing what I'm doing and hope that one day I will write a story someone will want to read, want to publish, want to buy. Just because I have limited higher education doesn't mean I can't tell a good story or use my imagination.
But the point is... how do you explain all that to someone who is all of nine? He wouldn't understand the value of pushing yourself now because he's never missed having a formal education. He hasn't worn my shoes. Right now all he's missing is computer and video games.
I just hope I can make him understand before he gets stuck like me.