Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How School Is Going - three weeks into public school

Katie has now had three official weeks of public school (8th grade).  She has experienced some things she loves about it as wll as some not so pleasant realities.  Even though some of the things are either annoying or seem wrong, she is willing to deal with them and basically doesn't want to rock the boat. 

Some of the things on the positive side are:

- She really likes her Social Studies and Language Arts teacher, Mr. Dow.
- She loves the hustle and bustle of school.
- She likes to go downtown after school with her friends.
- She feels good about being able to do well in her math class and enjoys being praised.   

Some of the things on the negative side are:

- During the first week she went up the wrong side of the stairs and a teacher told her to come back down and go up the right way.

- She got paired up to work with someone on a project that wasn't a good match (I won't elaborate) and found it extremely frustrating.  The difficult part (if you care about grades) is that no matter how different the project turns out because of your partner, you both get the same grade. 

- Her math teacher was shaming the kids who had not turned in their work.  She told them that they should complete and turn in their work or they may need to take remedial math in high school.  She told them that Katie had been their just a week and was "putting them to shame."  Although Katie enjoyed the praise, this comment wasn't helpful for anyone.  When I was in school I would have cringed if my teacher said anything like that as I wouldn't want the others to scoff at me nor think of me as better than them.  (I had an experience in middle school Biology class when someone got mad at me for getting an A because it blew the curve.) 

- Indecent exposure!  There is a dress code that stipulates no leggings, no skirts shorter than your knees, no speghetti straps, no shirts lower than an inch below your collar bone.  There are more rules, but these are the ones I can remember offhand.  Last week Katie said her T-shirt was deemed a half inch too low and so she had to zip up her sweat jacket for the rest of the day.  After the class ended in which she was told her shirt was too low, she unzipped her sweat jacket and was thankfully not reprimanded for the rest of the day.  Apparently the principal stands outside the lunchroom and recently noticed too many low cut shirts and is after the teachers to get after the students.

- Once you sit down at the lunch table, you are not allowed to change places.  This rule - if I am remembering correctly - was made because students were sitting down and then moving and feelings were being hurt. 

- Last Tuesday the kids involved in the school play were told to wear their red T-shirts that had the play name on them to school the following day to help advertise the play.  Those that didn't would get detention.  (What?  Was that a joke?  Did Katie hear that right?)  Katie had an XL shirt that was getting caught on things and she felt self-conscious wearing it as it looked like a bag on her.  She asked the person in charge of the play if she could be excused from wearing the T-shirt because it was too big and it was getting caught on things.  The lady told her that she still needed to wear it and could tie it so it didn't get caught.  I offerred to call the school, but Katie said no thanks.  I told her if she didn't want to wear it, I'd take the flak for it and communicate to the school staff about it if there was any problem.  It is important to Katie to feel comfortable in her clothing and it is important in general to people her age especially to feel good about their appearance (yes, I am generalizing, but I do think this is true for most kids at that time of their lives).  Katie chose to wear the shirt and tie it in a knot like the lady suggested.  I did ask her to take it off for FCS (Family Consumer Science) since she was using the hot oven to bake cookies and I thought the extra large shirt might pose a safety hazard.  She kept it on all day (including FCS) as the knot helped.  As soon as school was over though, off the shirt came! 

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