As a Kindergartener last year, Halie raised more than a few eyebrows. When she grew tired of simply raising eyebrows, she aimed to elicit gasps. Quickly, the gasps grew old, and Halie made it her goal to spend large spans of the school year in the In-School Suspension (ridiculously labeled The HELP Room). As parents, we had to trust the administration of this school, who probably had a combined tenure of 80+ years in education. Even the tried-and-true tactics for non-corporal punishment had absolutely no effect on Halie. We knew that we were being consistent to a fault at home, and saw none of the described behavior. So the school kept doing the same old things, and our daughter never ‘snapped into line’. I think that’s the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and over, expecting a different result every time. Good word to sum up our feelings about how our child was handled. Insanity.

This year, however, is most promising, despite Halie’s poor choices already made this year. DH and I figure that between the two of us and our respective family bloodlines, each of our daughters got two heaping helpings of stubborn. Halie for sure!
Halie began first grade at a new elementary school within the same district. Walking her to class the first day, I did not see one adult, either parent or staff, who was not helpful and smiling. Ms. F had a strong Italian name, a solid stance and a firm handshake when I met her. Halie introduced herself, of course, and went in to find her seat. Ms. F asked me to write down Halie’s departure instructions, and bid me goodbye. Huh! We’ll see how she handles Hurricane Halie.

When I returned to retrieve my six- year- old, the teacher who seemed so gruff with me that morning had a broad smile on her face, and hugged Halie, then told me that Halie had an excellent day. Wow! I asked my DH to pinch me. OW! I was only kidding.

I didn’t hold my breath waiting to hear rubber soles colliding with linoleum.

Meet the Teacher night was great, although I think my DH was the only male in the room. We were obviously eager students, as we took the two seats directly in the center of the front row.
We were the only ones to ask any questions, but wouldn’t have had to ask any of them if we had looked over the flyer Ms. F handed us as we walked in. The teacher with the strong Italian name, spoke very softly as she explained to us that she became a teacher when she divorced and became a single mother of two kids. She went on to tell us that each year, she ‘adopts’ our kids, and becomes greatly interested in their well-being. As Ms. F continued to talk about the rules of her classroom, she didn’t have my full attention. I was absorbed by the emotions that I was feeling for this teacher who I’d only seen once before. I asked myself, ” Where was this loving, involved teacher last year?” I was brimming with tears of joy when she finished speaking and asked all the parents to sign up for various activities. I immediately signed up to be the Homeroom Mom. I didn’t realize how much this teacher and I would talk over the phone within the next three weeks.

So, Halie’s in week three of First Grade. Yeah, I agree. It’s silly to count the initial back-to-school Thursday and Friday as a whole week, but who am I? The dream-like scenario with Halie at her new school lasted at least this long.
Ms. F has called me every day this week. Halie’s stealing things from her classmates’ desks. My goodness, that’s one way to get yourself alienated right off the bat, eh?
What a blessing it is to have Ms. F in the same corner as me and my DH. Our conversations usually begin with her trying to ‘soften the blow’ as she tells me what Halie’s done this time. I then do my best to explain (again) that there is nothing that will shock or surprise me. Halie’s been in hot water for breaking just about every rule at some point, and more than a few in one day.

Today, Ms. F called me again. I made it a point to ask her about her Italian last name. “I was my husband’s,” she told me. Turns out she’s from the fifth generation of pure Irish bloodline! Her son and daughter have the same fiery genetic combination that my Paternal Grandparents spawned long ago. I shared with her my thoughts on my daughter’s tendency to get bored and escalate negative behaviors just to get an bigger reaction. Ms. F told me that she had always been cautious about choosing her battles, then she said “I am truly stubborn, and no matter what I am determined to win!”

DH and I finally have an ally who desires consistency between home AND school. There’s no way that our oldest daughter stands a chance.


1 Comment

  1. amanda said,

    January 15, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    very nice

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