School and the Sniglet

From kindergarten through fourth grade, Ignatz had great teachers. We knew they were pretty good and counted ourselves lucky, but I was quite pleased with the German school system in general because I thought that was normal-ish. It may still be, but it hasn’t been the Sniglet’s experience at all, at all.

In the Sniglet’s last year of kindergarten he had a personality clash with his teacher. Honestly, I think she was sick and tired of little kids but was too young to retire and too old to change careers, is what I think. I also think the Sniglet saw right through her.

Then he had transitional kindergarten, with the teachers who kept leaving. There was also a sort of kid-psychologist there who kept trying to pathologize his personality when all he was trying to do was salvage some dignity. He didn’t want to flop around on the ground and pretend to be a fish, and she decided it was because he was somehow disordered, not because flopping around like a fish is stupid.

Then came first grade, and Fr S. Kids usually have the same teacher for two years here, but not this time, because she was due to retire, and this being Germany, where flexible is a dirty word, she couldn’t hang on for a year longer to give the kids some continuity, or hang up her chalk a year earlier and let the kids have another teacher for two years, oh no. We liked her at first, but ultimately we felt she had sort of already checked out.

So now it’s second grade, and Fr M. I’ve met with her a few times, but this was the first time DrBob got to talk to her. And I had some reservations about her, but I try really hard to think the best of people. DrBob barely kept his cool through the meeting, and exploded “Why do some people become teachers?” right after we left the room – I know she heard him. He says he doesn’t care.

The Sniglet’s not writing his assignments down. Then he comes home and says he has no homework. At an earlier meeting I asked Fr M to check and make sure that he wrote down everything that was due, and she said she would, but then yesterday she said “oh I did for awhile but it didn’t work so I stopped.” She isn’t fussed if he doesn’t do the assignment, but he should do something, she says. There are papers in his folder and I should have him do a few exercises here, a few there, look through his math book and have him do a few problems, practice some writing… basically, she wants me to homeschool him.

Please note that homeschooling is not legal here; kids have to go to an accredited school, so she’s not suggesting we pull him out – oh no, he’s supposed to be in her class from 8-12, and then I’m supposed to homeschool him in the afternoon.

Excuse me? What the fuck? I mean seriously, this is her solution? She’s too damn lazy to do her job so I should do it for her?

This is just so unfair, because he is a really smart kid. Even she admits that – he doesn’t listen and goofs around in class and then when she quizzes him he knows all the answers. He doesn’t like to be read to, doesn’t like to read, refuses to practice, and yet his reading is improving rapidly, don’t ask me how. He would do so well, and be happy doing well, if we could just get him a teacher who can give him some positive attention. I know they exist here, it’s just pure dumb luck that he’s not getting into their classes.

So now I’m wishing we’d decided to move right after Christmas after all. But until the Utrecht housing market settles down and the banks stop flipping out, we’re stuck.

Song du jour of the day: Maddening Shroud, by Frou Frou.


3 responses to “School and the Sniglet

  • amy

    I am so hung up that there are places where homeschooling is not legal. I have a hard time with the fact that I even have to notify anyone that we are and meet their stupid, piddly little requirements. (My current rant: Why do I have to prove my kids “go to school” 180 days per year like the schooled kids? What, we don’t get sick days? Nevermind that they’re learning every day because they’re human beings and that’s what human beings do…) Anyway, didn’t mean to co-opt your rant, but you’ve hit upon one reason I DO homeschool. I fear otherwise I’d end up trying to do the same stuff, but tucked around the corners I get when my kid’s not in school or doing homework, and here the school day is twice as long if you include bus time, and how is it US kids spend so much time in school yet do so poorly all the time?

    I’m not very coherent, am I? My older kids have had a flu relapse. Waiting to hear back from the doctor…

  • Elemmaciltur

    That totally sucks…..sorry that you guys have to go through this kind of crap.

  • helpless « alala

    […] ideas. The people I’m dealing with now are… not. The worthlessness of his teacher is established fact. Mrs Robin only put her child in the hospital after DrBob called to say that Robin was not in fact […]

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