Ignatz, on the other hand

… has had pretty great teachers, and continues to do so. Yesterday I talked to Fr A, who was his German teacher last year and is now teaching an after-school class for people who need extra help with German. I met with her to say “he has a very specific problem with German and your class isn’t really addressing that, so I’d like to take him out of it,” but before I could start she said, “Ignatz’s difficulties are very specific, and I can’t really address them in this class, so he really shouldn’t be taking it.”

All righty, then.

Um, his grammar is fine, his spelling is fine, but he can’t string sentences together coherently, can’t focus on a text long enough to figure out what the important themes are, or separate the trivial details from the significant ones. He can’t write essays or summaries of stories. And she said she doesn’t know how to help him get better at that. Concentration exercises? Maybe? Shrug? I shrugged too.

Then this morning DrBob and I went to talk to his… um, Klassenlehrerin, class-teacher. They have a different teacher for every subject, but each class is assigned one teacher who has a sort of overview of their general performance – she’s the one who knows all his grades in all his different subjects. Basically. And (jeez, he is so incredibly LUCKY) Ignatz’s class-teacher is the chemistry teacher, and chemistry has been his favorite subject for some years now, so he’s good at it. She’s cool, she’s funny, she likes him. Just like most of his class-teachers have so far, actually. But she sees that he has tremendous potential that is being sabotaged by his chaotic nature, and she finds it very sad that he’s wasting his chances.

DrBob did most of the talking – pretty much all of it – and never once mentioned the ADHD. Not once has he acknowledged that Ignatz has a problem that he can’t solve by himself, he has never, and probably will never let go of the belief that Ignatz could just get over this if he really wanted to. And I am frustrated.

We still have fundamentally different ideas of what ADHD is, and it’s his model that has prevailed throughout this whole journey, from diagnosis to five years later when nothing much has changed. Will there ever be a time when my perspective counts for anything? Probably not. I’ve quit trying, really, because I get so tired of being dismissed.

This has a new urgency now because we have to think about getting Ignatz into a “good” school in Utrecht, and it’s clear that DrBob and I have different ideas of what that means. It is true that he is bored here because school is too easy for him (the teachers confirm this), but DrBob thinks that if his schoolwork were just made harder, he would be challenged enough to pay attention. I still think he has ADHD, and if it’s the conventional model of education, in which the teacher talks for 40 minutes while the kids siddown and shaddup, he’s still going to have trouble focusing. I think kids with ADHD learn differently and this needs to be addressed.

I hope, I hope, I hope that someone in his next school will see that and be able to tell me how to help him. Because I can’t do this by myself, and I can’t get DrBob to listen to me.

Song du jour of the day: Pressure Drop, by Toots and the Maytals.

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3 responses to “Ignatz, on the other hand

  • amy

    Blech. Does anyone really thrive on the siddown and shaddup method? I mean, some people are successful–I was one of them–but that’s not the same. I don’t know that anyone really learns that way, they just regurgitate.

    Good luck. I hope the schools in Utrecht fit his style better.

  • alala

    No, but I don’t think “thriving” is the goal. I think the goal is to teach them how the culture they were born into functions, and how they can function within that culture. I have a hard time arguing that that’s a bad idea, but I’m not sure how successfully it’s being executed.

    I do have to concede, though, that something has to come from the student, and Ignatz is not doing his part. Part of the problem is that he simply cannot be bothered to put in even a minimal effort.

  • mary

    What does Ignatz say about it? Sounds like it’s time for you to be more assertive. Like with the class teacher. Can Ignatz choose a school? I mean, does he have any voice in the matter, as far as the school system is concerned?

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