I knew at Meet the Teacher day that I didn't like Jill's teacher, but I didn't have any concrete evidence. Nothing. There was something though. I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. I really wanted to have her moved to another class. But? She happened to be assigned to the only black/African American (seriously...what is the PC term? I never know!) teacher, and I was terrified that the school would think that was why I wanted her moved. It had nothing to do with it. At all. But I know there had been a problem last year with a parent and this very teacher and race. So I was overly cautious. But still. Something had rubbed me wrong. Maybe ti was the way Jill stood there ignored for ten minutes waiting to tell her goodbye before I would let her leave? Maybe it was the way the teacher had prepared nothing for us, no syllabus, no materials, nothing, while the other teachers were handing out full packets of information? Maybe it was the way she turned her back to me when I asked her a question? I just didn't like her from the beginning.
It got worse through the year. By then end of the first six weeks, Jill was spending her days coloring five to ten color pages a day. No actually school work was coming. No readers. No homework. Nothing. She complained of being bored. Her behavior at school deteriorated. Yet, her standardized test scores soared. When I brought this up with her teacher, her response was simply "Jill is ahead, why do we need to do so much?" Oh, right. So, 'cause she already doing okay, you don't have to teach this one. Good plan, idiot. She may be ahead now, by letting her coast along for a year will only hurt her. I talked to the Principal. This really soured my relationship with the teacher. She refused my help for holiday parties. She ignored me when I attended events. She never responded to notes or returned phone calls.
The icing on the cake came at dinner two nights ago.
"My teacher squeezes my arm too hard," Jill states matter-of-factly without even looking up from her food.
I almost spit out my taco. ""Excuse me." She can tell by my tone something is wrong. She changes the subject. I let is slide, temporarily. Later, when we are working on her project, the same one the teacher didn't bother to tell us about, she brings it up again.
"When my teacher gets mad at you, she squeezes your arm like this," she grabs my forearm, squeezing hard. Enough to make me squirm. "Her long nails dig into your skin. It hurts bad."
"When did this happen Jill?"
"Just once to me. When I got a demerit in Art Class. But it happened twice to Chloe and a few times to Precious. You aren't going to yell at my teacher, are you? Please don't go to the school."
I tell her I don't know what I am going to do. There is so little time left in the year. But putting her hands on my child? That can't be overlooked. I played it over in my head through the night. In the morning, I went to the school. Immediately, the Principal decides to pull Jill from the class. I am shocked. Jill will feel like this is punishing her. Taking her from her friends? In the last six weeks of school? Surely this is not the best option?
I spend the afternoon agonizing over it. I argue with Kenny. I waffle back and forth. I can't concentrate on work or anything else. I wish I have never mentioned it. It seems like nothing is going to happen to the teacher. It is Jill that will suffer. What have I done?
When Jill gets home, I sit her down and talk to her about school, her teacher, how she feels about her class. She breaks down. She tells me everything she has been holding in. When I suggest moving classes, she jumps up and down cheering. What? Uh, no. I have been CRYING over this, Kid. Crying! And you are laughing? It goes to show that us parents, we know nothing.
In the long run, I wish I had this conversation with her long ago. She has been in a class for months putting up with horrible things.