Friday, May 08, 2009


I'm bored with my blog.  I want a new blog.  A better blog.

This isn't it either, but it's going to have to do for now.  I spent two god-awful hours last night trying to get that picture saved in a way that I could load it onto Blogger.  Now that it's finally here, I ain't dumpin' it yet!  Is anyone else suddenly having trouble uploading pictures into Blogger?  I keep getting an error message.  I have to go through Picasa first.  Anyone else?

So we're in a bit of a low as far as spring weather goes.  Cold, windy, grey, wet.  I'm not happy about it.  Now that I'm finally done studying for that infernal norsk test and have time to take long, slow runs through the woods, it's far too cold and windy to enjoy it.  Typical. 

I think it may have affected my general mood.  Can you tell? 

That, and the conference I had with Boy's teacher yesterday.  Anyone remember the last conference I had with her?  The one where she told me he was emotionally immature, and that there was no point pushing any sort of academic agenda on him because, I don't know, he might break down in a puddle of tears in the face of 2+2=? or some such horror. 

She was happy to report that he was way over that.  He's come a long way, she said, done a lot of growing up in the past few months.  I think she may have believed herself personally responsible for this miracle of maturation.

That's unkind of me.  She does spend a large chunck of time with him everyday.  Clearly her influence is important.  Her contribution should be respected.  It's just that....GAH!....she was so fucking smug! 

I want to like her.  I keep trying to like her.  She's going to be his teacher for the next three years.  It would be advantageous to my peace of mind if could bring myself to believe that this was a good thing.  Right?

She went on to tell me that she had recently run through a set of standardized tests with him.  These are brand new, she said, they never used to test first graders to track their progress.  I got the sense she thought this was a bad thing.  Anyway, she said, he did really well.  Really, really well.  She made no secret of the fact that she was surprised at how very well he actually did.  So very, very surprising, she said, given where he started.  Both his reading readiness and number recognition are way above average.

Rather than being comforted by these results, I allowed myself a moment of prickly pique (or, maybe something slightly more than a 'moment').  I've already elaborated on the glacial slowness of the early Norwegian curriculum, so I'll spare you my thoughts on the matter of continuing to speak in terms of 'reading readiness' and 'number recognition' for FIRST GRADERS.  They've be ready for two flippin' years!  Teach them something already!


What really pissed me off about the whole thing was, again, how surprised she was.  The way she kept saying how impressive it was, and how surprising, and how simply grand that he had managed to read all her damn three letter words and count all her stupid circles and stars (all of which, by the by, he could have easily managed in September, except for the fact that he's cautious and shy and takes a good long time to warm up to a new teacher and school, so yes, in the beginning maybe he did choose to cry a bit rather than answer a simple question) only confirmed to me that I was right last fall when I predicted she had totally written him off as a lost cause.  If she had been paying more attention to him over the past five months, would she really have been so fucking surprised to find out last week that he can read?

And then, and THEN, after the bull shit test results, she went into this whole thing about his compromised language skills.  About how important it is that we (his parents, "Or, in this case," she amended, "Perhaps his father, because you can't help him much here, can you now") stress correct speech and pronounciation at home blah blah blah, because he's still very weak in this area. 

She was specifically adament about needing to work on his grasp of certain prepositional phrases, and as proof of this she produced a large drawing that he had done in class.  This too had been a sort of test about how well he could understand and follow directions.  They all had to draw exactly what the teacher told them to draw, starting with a circle or a ball in the very center of the page.  Which Boy had done.  Then lines going from the ball to the top and the bottom of the paper, then out to each side.  Done.  Then lines going out to each corner.  Which he hadn't managed exactly, but there were diagonal lines radiating out from the ball.  She looked at me pointedly and said, "He clearly does not know what a corner is."

Orrrrr, perhaps, I don't know, but just maybe he still lacks the fine-motor and hand-eye coordination to get a straight line to go diagonally ANYWHERE!  Bitch.

From there they had to draw a house, with a door and a window and a chimey with smoke, and then a tree with five apples, then a cat, and on and on and on.  Boy had done most of all of this.  Even as she was showing me the picture and explaining the cues he had been given, I could tell she began to realize that oh yeah, wait,  no, yeah.  Most of this is right.  Okay but still, see, he didn't put the chimney "on the roof".  And he missed the apples "under the tree".  Oh but look at that, he got the cat "to the left of the house".

Whatever.  The picture proves nothing to me but a short attention span.  Boy's got that in spades.  If she wants to parse spoken language skills, fine I'll grant her that he struggles with vocabulary and diction.  But he's bilingual.  That's going to be an ongoing problem.  I fucking DARE you to suggest that I should stop speaking English to him at home.  Go ahead, bitch.  Make. My. Day.

Alas.  She did not.

She did suggest that maybe it would be benficial for him to spend some time with the school's 'spesialpedagog', which is basically, you know...special ed.  I'd be all miffed and offended at this too, except, as long as it falls under the guise of helping him catch up with his language skills, it kind of makes sense to me.  And oddly, I've been hinting around this possibility (I tried hard to call in speech pathology, rather than special ed though) to EM's teachers for the past year now because her spoken language skills are just as bad, if not worse, than Boy's.  EM's teachers have never been that much bothered by it.  They say give her time, she'll catch up.

Heh, I feel so much better after having written all that.  Mister has been in Austria all week, so he wasn't home to get an ear full of my supreme indignation just after this all happened.  I hadn't realized how badly I needed to unload. 

If you made it this far, thanks for listening.  Next time I'll say something funny.  Promise.


Caroline said...

Oh what I have to look forward to in a few months time when we move to Norway.

Don't let the 'poking' get to you. In a few years time not only will your children master 'prepositional phrases' but they will be fully bilingual.

Maybe this new testing system is a good thing - some teachers seam in need of a little eyeopener.

Queen LaTeacha said...

Okay, here's my take on it......I think Teacher is intimidated by the American mom who insists on being involved, and finds herself stumbling a bit, trying to sound like she's got both of you figured out.

Let her flounder, and don't for a minute let her make you think she knows your child better than you do. Does he like her? DON'T let him think you have any negative thoughts about her. Because if YOU don't like her, he's like cheating on you if HE likes her.

Just a few thoughts from the teacher side of me. Take it for what it's worth.

trace said...

Won't it be funny when Boy ends up being her heart surgeon or something and she gets some crow to eat...

la dragon said...

Along the lines of Trace's comment, I'm especially looking forward to the day he becomes Norway's Poet Laureate. In your FACE, smug teacher biatch. I just don't think our boy's going to have any trouble expressing himself when he's of a mind to.

And like his mom... he'll learn to sprak the Norsk... when he's goddamn good and ready.

Anonymous said...

What a twat...I really feel the need to smack that teacher!

PS. Hanna loves the kitty...and likes the name Cindy too, while I'm with you for Roxy.