Sylvia's writing to freedom

How are schools demotivating youngsters? 13/11/2010

Today my daughter A. came home from school all worked up. What had happend was the following. She forgot to bring one of her copybooks. Her homework which she had done for today was written in the copybook. A. found out that she had forgotten her copybook just before class started and told the teacher she forgot it, but informed the teacher that she had done her homework. The teacher told her basically that she lied. What A. does in these kind of situations is suppressing her madness and feeling victimised by her surrounding, which results in  a feeling of empowerment. Also this time she couldn’t think of what to say, other than stating that she had done her homework and that she wasn’t lying. Not bringing certain materials to school is one of her weaknesses, she isn’t disciplined within getting ready for school. We talked about this in the past, but in the end it’s up to her. So today the teacher had written in the special communication copybook, to inform us that A for three times since September, had not done her homework. A. was really pissed, because one time she was misinformed after being sick by her classmates, once she hadn’t understood the materials and this time she did her homework but forgot to bring it to school. The purpose for this communication notebook is to verify the parents before things escalate, the parents have only to  sign the book. And when things get ugly the school does not have to take the responsibility.

I saw that I was reacting towards this incident, the whole story felt really unfair to me. Last year A. changed schools and ended up here for the last 3 – 4 months of the school year. After her old school had denigrated A. and this new teacher believed all that was said by her colleagues from the old school. A. and we as parents had to do a lot of talking to restore the “image” of our child.  This year A. started off really great and she is still doing great and getting mostly A grades. Out of the blue this teacher fell back in her negative behavior of last year. She told A. that she had to work harder, while A. is one of the few kids that does her homework and gets straight A’s. This teacher is teaching A. 4 subjects, how can it be that she doesn’t remember what grades A. got in her classes over the last 4 months. And at the end of the conversation or shall I say monologue the teacher told A. that she had to do better, who was she to believe that she could go and study at the university in 5 years from now with this behavior. This teacher is preparing the class for a vocational choice and A. had just told her that she wanted to go and study further instead of choosing a school for handcrafts. To me it felt as a really rude behaviour to speak like that to a student. This teacher who states that she is treating every student equally, but treats them according to her first impression of bad and good.

I told A. that she can ask her teacher about this equality thing of her in such moments, because three other classmates hadn’t done their homework but the teacher believed them without checking. It’s dishonest when one needs all kind of ugly talking to get ones point across to make oneself bigger and more than ones students. We discussed how to react and how to act towards this teacher as parents. We shall write in the special copybook that we agree on the point of forgetting materials has to be followed up with consequences according to the rules of the school. That’s how the system works. However we will not sign for the homework that supposedly hadn’t been done, because that’s just a lie. I would almost say a compulsive lie, because the same teacher did that also last school year, without checking A.’s copybook and putting the other teachers up against A. forming opinions within the school about A. The school system is fucked up even when you do your best to be a good student and finish middle school within the prescribed three years. There are so many kids that do not put any effort into school and finish middle school without staying down, that’s hard to take for teenagers. These grown ups are giving off a really fucked up message to the kids. And than the teachers are questioning why they have to teach a bunch of demotivated teenagers, isn’t that the cause-effect or you reap what you sow which is crawling up your sleeves?

I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to react towards this incident  with a feeling of unfairness.

I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to feel unfairness, while seeing that I’m participating within the same victim role as A. does and taking away my own directive powers.

I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to feel spiteful towards the teacher who is in my opinion breaking down what we had been building up together.

I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to blame the school system for creating inflexible teachers and school rules. Knowing that I cannot change it in this moment, instead I have to focus on generations to come so that we will not repeat these ineffective patterns that we call education.

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2 Responses to “How are schools demotivating youngsters?”

  1. Ingrid Says:

    Every teacher that states that he/she handles every student equal is so totally self dishonest – is just not possible to do when in separation.

    How to deal with school? I’m also investigating like you. I also tell Dj to act according the rules because that is how it is, that he must try to be ‘polite’, or at least no name calling and stuff, when he feels he is not treated ‘right’. But he is not required to allow abuse from teachers (or from anyone else for that matter) – he can point it out to the teacher if he wants to (but also have to put up with it at some occasions).
    Like most adults, teachers think they are allowed to act out on their students, just because they can. I emphasize to Dj to not be rude like the teacher because that way things just get worse probably and that way Dj just empowers himself through rage. I think it’s tough for the kids 😦 And the parents 🙂

    • Sylvia Says:

      You have to understand that this school is sooo much better than the old one. I gave A. all kinds of examples of how far she could go in her comments to the teacher, if that’s considered rude than they have to deal with us the parents. Equality my ass. Here in Italy a teacher or “professore” has quite a high status within society, the way it worked in the sixties in Holland.

      My son J. came home with the story that his class wasn’t allowed to go to the special science classroom, because after an outing the teacher missed a week later one of her measure tapes. So she who has the responsibility for the materials doesn’t check the materials after the outing, than a week later she is missing one of the measure tapes. When asking the class nobody responded, therefore the class was grounded. Two weeks later she found the measure tape in the science classroom, she didn’t tell or speak about it anymore. Inequality and abuse of power. In December we have 10-minute conversations with the teachers, lets see how that goes…


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