Be smart or GTFO

16 10 2008

Parenting makes you reflect on your childhood quite a bit.  Being a foster parent of ready-made kids makes me realize how DIFFERENTLY I was raised.  We currently are the proud owners of an 8 yo boy, 4 yo girl, and 3 yo boy.  We’ve had the little kids almost a year and the oldest for a little over 2 months.  The oldest is who is making me realize quite a few things about my past.

One is that I never understood why teachers liked me.  In my own mind (and to my parents) I was an arogant, smart-mouthed, disrespectful, anti-social little geek of a girl.  My parents raised me to be smart-mouthed, geeky, and anti-social though… the rest I came up with on my own.  I always thought teachers hated me until the parent teacher conference – then it was “oh, she’s perfectly lovely and precocious. She’s so smart and does her work without complaining.  She gets more free time in the library than anyone and she’s always so quiet.”  Then my report card would come and I’d have a 100 average.

Now, I know.  If you are smart and not disruptive, it’s pretty hard for teachers to NOT like you.  It turns out that I was the easy child to teach but the hard child to raise. Teachers didn’t have to do jack shit with me and I still knew more about it than they did.  I could actually hold a conversation too, which is very rare in children.

My 8 yo… boy… his teacher hates him.  She writes him up for stuff like speaking up during someone else’s question and embarasses him in front of the classroom.  He’s smart – very smart – but he has significant language delays.  He didn’t speak until he was 5, so he’s got the verbal skills of a 3 yo.  He also has no concept of social normality – like take turns, don’t hit when you’re angry or frustrated, look at someone when they are speaking – and this causes problems in the classroom.  His teacher just cannot stand it.  She tells me that she can’t watch him all the time because – now get this – she has 20 students in her room.  Oh. My. God.  20?  No kidding? Are you serious, lady?

The school doesn’t want to change his classroom in the middle of a semester, so I’m trying to teach him to shut up and be smart.  When it comes down to it, this second grade teacher is going to matter less than what he had for lunch today in his life.  His job is to survive and learn as much as possible before he gets out into the real world.

I also realized how much martial arts changed my school-life.  I used to give a damn what people thought and what bullies said to me.  After I knew I could break a 3-inch piece of pine with a spinning side-kick, I didn’t care what they thought about my hair or my new boobies.  I went to my husband’s 10 year reunion last year with him (high school sweethearts) and all those bullies were lining up to lick my man-eater heels.  It was all “LOOK AT YOU, I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!” with me staring blankly like “you used to throw gum at me and trash my locker, bitch.  Fuck off.” (I never got over being anti-social.)

I do feel really sorry for my kids.  They have me as a mom.

At least I can teach them how to get teachers to like them.

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