Today, for the third Monday in a row, Ignatz got to sleep in, because his first-period teacher has called in sick for five weeks. It’s religion class, supposed to happen twice a week, and they found a substitute for the other one, so they haven’t dropped religion from the curriculum completely for this five weeks. Gym class was supposed to be twice a week, but they dropped the Friday class, permanently as far as I know, so now it’s only on Wednesdays, except when the teacher doesn’t show. For one reason or another. Last week he came home early one day because his English teacher was at ski-camp. Yes, the school organizes a weeklong ski-camp for the kids who ski (not ours, therefore), but they don’t seem to be bothered about the whole daily instruction thing. In fact, it’s something almost every week. Either he’s home early because a class was cancelled, or I ask about his homework and he says “oh, the music teacher wasn’t there today so we had study hall instead, and I did it then.”
Excuse me? We are constantly battling Ignatz’s perception, reinforced by kids’ TV shows and the friends he made in elementary school, that school is un-cool and good students are losers. He gets Bs when he could easily get As, and he’s just not interested in trying harder. This frustrates the hell out of us, and we are apparently fighting this battle all by ourselves, because the teachers like to send notes home urging us to talk to him, as if that had never occurred to us, but I guess they feel that their responsibility ends there. I wonder how they can expect kids to take school seriously when the teachers don’t show up, and the district doesn’t bother to find substitutes?
DrBob and I do not see eye-to-eye on this, massive surprise there. He says it’s because the politicians have attempted to reform education with longer days and more classes, without providing funding for extra staff – I’ve written about this before, how the gubmint decreed that all kids should study English starting in third grade (yes, even the native English speakers, the first major setback in our battle to teach our son that school is NOT a gigantic waste of time), but made no provision for hiring extra teachers, so the English teachers here are under-qualified, and feed our kids a lot of bullshit. E.g., “you can’t say it is, that’s wrong, you have to say it’s.” Gkk… *splutter*… what!? Also, it seems that ‘substitute teacher’ is not a job here, they don’t have them on tap – either you are a teacher, with the full benefits (but very few responsibilities, apparently), or you are not a teacher, so you don’t teach ever at all.
DrBob also believes that this should not be an excuse for Ignatz’s recent resurgence in forgetting and losing things. Me, I repeat: why should he take school seriously when it is so obvious that his teachers do not? It’s not like he’s forgetting on purpose, but he’s also probably not making a special effort to remember. For the record, DrBob still believes that Ignatz could shape up if he really wanted to – that is to say, he doesn’t actually believe in ADD, though he claims to, just to shut me up.
Also, according to DrBob, it’s worse in East Germany, so I should not complain. Because apparently, if anybody in the world has a bigger problem than yours, then your situation is just fine, and there’s no reason to try to change it.
Argh, argh, argh.
Song du jour of the day: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, by Ella Fitzgerald.