gifted

or not

…this is a rant…

My kid hates the gifted math class he goes to. I finally sent out a request via school email last week for the teacher to call me. Which she did today. My previous correspondence from her was this, his first trimester evaluation (he’s in the sixth grade).

gtmath
does this make a whole lot of sense?

I can interpret this, but given that it is #1 from a teacher and #2 from a gifted teacher, I expect better. It’s the ‘does can sometimes explain’ that really gets me.

What did I learn today? That the kid spends the class with his head on his desk and his hood over his head. That he only contributes to ask disruptive questions. I pointed out to her that there was no way that I would know this sort of behavior was going on unless she relayed it to me, because the kid surely isn’t going to. His behavior is not acceptable, but her lack of responsibility in working with the kid’s parents is worse. Let’s face it, who should take the lead here? I told her I would like some ideas from her about how to make the class more interesting to him, to make it seem like it’s not a punishment to go (he misses morning recess with his friends to get transported to another school to take this class). She blathered on about when she was a kid and how she wasn’t challenged. I cut her short. Two reasons- #1, I totally know, after all, the kid’s smarts didn’t descend from nowhere, and #2, it’s not about her 30 years ago, I’m trying to work on something constructive for the kid now. She had no ideas. I said, well, would you be willing to give me a short email each day noting if he made an effort? Oh yes, that’s a good idea.

Followed an ambulance for a bit today. It left the hospital, slowly, strolling along, until it got to the rotary, then on came the sirens. I could see they were clearly transporting somebody. Who was sitting up on the stretcher drinking what looked like an iced coffee or soda.

This nearly caused an accident when the two cars that very politely pulled over to let the ambulance by (one totally off the road) tried to get back on the rotary (aka traffic circle). This is the #1 accident spot in the entire state. Granted, it’s a whole lot smaller than some of them in Mass.  (and we drive better up here!  … sure….. )  The high school moved from here to a new building last year, so maybe the accident statistics have dropped.

Almost to the thumb on the first mitt in a pair of Dashing, which I’m making mostly out of Ultra Alpaca, with a bit of angora at the cuff edge. Slightly different color than the Bunny Scarf and for the same person.

Spinning my wheels about some ArcMap and Crystal Report issues… anybody out there work with these?

17 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Chris said,

    November 19, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

    Ok, I can NOT believe that you received that commique from a teacher. It’s completely incoherent. I would be talking to her supervisor/principal about that, because I have to wonder if she is able to explain things coherently in class…

  2. 2

    Julie said,

    November 19, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

    That e-mail from the teacher is totally unacceptable! I’m not so sure I’d her teaching my kid anything!

  3. 3

    Julie said,

    November 19, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

    Ooops, that should say “I’m not so sure I’d want her teaching …..

  4. 4

    Cathy-Cate said,

    November 19, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

    I should be have exceeds too. Or something.
    Whoa. I take it this is one of those math-not-language kinds of brains, but still, I’m flabbergasted.
    Better to be bored in regular math or bored AND missing hanging-out-time-with-friends-and-resenting-it in gifted math (and not learning)? Arg.
    My two are both in math and language arts classes to challenge them more (they call it HPL here and now, High Performance Learning) and they have been fortunate in their instructors. The middle school is mostly from the same teachers as regular class, just accelerated, with the exception of one class largely conducted by computer, which is actually very cool; the elementary HPL involves a teacher coming to them, rotating schools and working with their classroom teachers also. The disadvantage is the limited time and resources, especially for the littler one.
    But the note above is crazy-making, as well as the lack of communication about what’s happening in class. Wow. Do pass that on to the accelerated program coordinator, or the principal. Wow.

  5. 5

    kmkat said,

    November 19, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

    I second the idea to show that to the teacher’s supervisor/principal. Yikes. I suspect the teacher may not be very effective in communicating to her students, either — perhaps the reason your son doesn’t like the class is because the teacher is an idiot?

  6. 6

    Ewe-niss said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 5:40 am

    Talk to the principal – get him out of the classroom. She is an idiot and NOT worthy of your child’s time. I truly thought at first that English wasn’t her native language. Now I see, she thinks too highly of herself. (She is so ‘gifted’ she is practically handicapped.) Move your son to a plain old boring regular math class and let him be the star there. He has every reason to hate this class, and you really don’t want him to have to endure this particular teacher only because it is an advance class. Please get him out before he hates school in general and you are not able to motivate him to go to school as a whole.

    He needs to see that you are listening to him and working for him. At 6th grade, you have very few years left where you can actually ‘be there’ for him. Those teenage years are soon coming … :-)

  7. 7

    sue said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 9:12 am

    I don’t think any kid who sits through a gifted math class with his head down and hood pulled over his head should stay in the class. (This should have come up at conference time) Something is wrong. However, your son is at the age that he should be able to tell you what is wrong. Is the teacher boring to him or is he lost? Does he not understand the teacher’s explanations? Does he resent missing recess with his friends? Does the teacher pile on too much homework and has he gotten behind? Do other kids in the gifted class tease him? Who decided (and why) that he should be in this class??

    Your second problem is a teacher who doesn’t write a very good e-mail. If you show the e-mail to the principal you make her look bad. I personally wouldn’t do that to a teacher who just agreed to send me daily updates about how my child is doing.

    You may want to see if you can observe the class in session a few times to see what is going on. You do want to find out if the teacher’s teaching style is as confusing and disjointed as her e-mail writing style. You should definetely ask your son some questions about why he has his head down. Now’s the time to get him into classes that he fits into for his maturity level and abilities.

    If he is struggling in the class but doesn’t what to drop down to a regular math class you may want to consider outside math help like Kumon. My daughter was in Kumon (the math track) for 2 1/2 years and it worked wonders for her math. She spent 20 minutes a day doing math drilling worksheets (and I spent $$ every month) but it was worth every minute and every penny. Good luck …

  8. 8

    Lucia said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 10:58 am

    That gifted-math teacher (note the hyphen: she may in fact be a gifted math teacher, but I’ve seen no evidence of it yet) needs a class in remedial English, or proofreading at the very least. If it’s possible to do it without introducing an uncontrolled variable (namely, his knowledge of your presence), I would want to observe the class at least once.

    We use Crystal Reports here, but I don’t know how they work, I just describe what’s on ‘em.

  9. 9

    MollyBee said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 11:19 am

    This sounds like the year the Spanish teacher put a class description for her class
    in the guide book that said that everyone should take Spanish because it is ‘more
    easier’ than French! And English was her first language! That report needs to be
    copied and given to her supervisor. It
    goes beyond a couple of typos into total incomprehension! Someone above her needs to
    know this. She’s molding young minds how now?

    I HATE the August rotary. Too many folks taking the close your eyes and gun it
    approach. Thankfully my brother moved to Windsor so I don’t have to go that way any
    more. A little town close to us just put in FOUR rotarys in a straight away that is less
    than 1 mile long. Sheesh!

  10. 10

    MollyBee said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 11:20 am

    This sounds like the year the Spanish teacher put a class description for her class
    in the guide book that said that everyone should take Spanish because it is ‘more
    easier’ than French! And English was her first language! That report needs to be
    copied and given to her supervisor. It
    goes beyond a couple of typos into total incomprehension! Someone above her needs to
    know this. She’s molding young minds how now?

    I HATE the Augusta rotary. Too many folks taking the close your eyes and gun it
    approach. Thankfully my brother moved to Windsor so I don’t have to go that way any
    more. A little town close to us just put in FOUR rotarys in a straight away that is less
    than 1 mile long. Sheesh!

  11. 11

    Dave Daniels said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

    I’d give her an “C+” for effort, but an “F” for communication skills. Not to light of this serious situation, though; but, if this is an example of her ability to communicate, I can only imagine WHY your son must be bored in the class. It doesn’t sound like it’s really challenging his aptitude and desires. Is it possible to return him to regular schooling, and find an additional program? (When I was in junior high school, I was allowed to take college level evening classes in the adult ed programs, and graduated a year ahead of my class when I got to high school.)

  12. 12

    Emily said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

    Good lord, I know she’s a math teacher but that doesn’t excuse the horrible grammar. I can see why kiddo doesn’t like the class – he has to leave his friends and deal with a teacher who has no imagination. Poor guy.

  13. 13

    Jennifer said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

    Oh, this really upsets me. I’m having similar frustrating issues with the education system here. That teacher may be gifted in math, but she’s NOT a gifted teacher! That is evident. I’d get him out of that class ASAP! That is not an enriching experience. I really feel for your situation.

    I hope that poor Sid is recuperating well. I tried to comment that day, but was unable to. I read the post in bloglines, then when I clicked to your blog, I wasn’t able to bring it up. Anyway, I hope he’s going to be all right.

  14. 14

    brenda said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

    That email is just crazy! I agree that you should rethink having him in this class at all. If he’s bored and doesn’t want to be there because he’s missing his friends, it’s going to be an uphill battle all year. I can’t wait to see what the daily emails from his teacher look like!

  15. 15

    Blogless Carrie said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

    I have to say that “should be have exceeds” is my favorite line, but I must admit I didn’t make it all the way through the e-mail, it was so painful. And it is a total bummer that it appears that the GT teacher is sucking *all* the fun out of something your son clearly has an aptitude for. (or, rather, for which he has an aptitude) It does raise questions as to whether this is a good choice for him, as it is clearly drudgery now. And, getting back to my earlier comment, isn’t the point to make it *more* stimulating, not *less?* If it isn’t fun, and it’s sucking out his inherent interest, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

    Finally, I saw the e-mail pasted and thought “Oh God, I hope nobody posts my e-mails on the web!” I always try to be articulate and diplomatic, but I also live in fear that I’ll be the teacher who said that Michael Jordan shouldn’t play JV basketball…

    Good luck –

  16. 16

    linedragon :-: Harriet said,

    November 24, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

    How strange! What everyone else said goes for me too, but I did wonder if English wasn’t her first language? Hope things improve!

  17. 17

    Sue said,

    November 26, 2007 @ 10:08 am

    It looks like the teacher had to check boxes… lots of times slashes would make the sentences a little more coherent. Like “He does can sometimes” makes sense if you think she was clicking a radio button next to “does” and “can sometimes”. But there is a LOT to be said for proofreading. And I feel bad for kids whose parents are not smart enough to figure these things out for them. Good luck with all that, Lisa – you totally deserve to rant.

    Oh and in other news, I’m back online! Still homeless and unemployed (ha!) but now with a working computer. :)

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