A Frustrated Mother!! Help!!!

Hi everyone. Sorry I’ve been M.I.A lately. This school year has really been kicking my butt. I’m sitting on my couch on my second day off with Bronchitis and a Sinus Infection and going through emails from my son’s teacher.

Have you ever just wanted to scream?? This is in no way against his teachers. He is in a 4th grade ITC (60% gen ed/40% special ed) class, on the general ed side and I love both of his teachers. This is the first year that he actually likes school.

This is kind of a rant and things have been floating around in my head for a few days. Have you ever looked back and thought about your life and how you would have changed something? That’s how I am feeling right now.

I am in my 16th year of teaching and I am just now looking back and thinking as a mother and a wife, not a teacher. I switched schools three years ago and I think my point of view changed as well. In my old school, I was working every night until 11 pm on lessons or grading or collecting data. I know many of you can relate. I had many fights with my husband over the time spent on work. He couldn’t understand it!

Now thinking back, I see all of the time I missed with my family and how I put work in front of them. At least over the last three years I started to change that.

But I digress, like I said this is kind of a rant. So…back to my son. I think my son is a great kid (what mother doesn’t say that :)) but he frustrates me to no end. He is that kid in your class who is smart but gives up easily. He doesn’t really care and gives the bare minimum. It doesn’t seem to matter what I or my husband say to him. So as I sit looking through emails, I wonder what can I do?

He is an only child and has a very active imagination. For lack of a better term, he is QUIRKY. I wondered if he was on the spectrum but was told no. I never had to baby proof my house. He would sit for hours and play with one thing. But the temper tantrums…hours upon hours and started at 6 months old and went to about 4 years old. He never climbed because he said, “I could fall.”

After the tantrums, started organizing things by size and some OCD tendencies. You couldn’t touch his head. If you did, he would touch his head three times after you. My brother in law thought this was hysterical, but I didn’t. One day after a year or two of this, my son turned around to me and said, “You know what, it’s kind of silly that I touch my head after someone else. I think I’ll stop.” He never did it again.

Then he went to school. He was in my school and a cryer. Oh boy! I could hear him cry down the hallway. He would refuse to do things, give up, and cry. He was in my school for 2 years with a fantastic teacher. During that time, he decided he didn’t want to have any friends. He would refuse to say the names of other children. He would say, “You know that kid, his name starts with D.” It would be like playing 20 questions with him. I wanted to put him in therapy but my husband refused. You know how men are…

One day in first grade my son came home from school and told my husband, “Dad, I think I need to go to the talking doctor.” How can you say no to a 6 year old who says he needs help. What 6 year old says that?? So, he was in therapy for two years. Between the therapy and maturing, I saw a big change in him.

He switched schools and wasn’t with me and I was worried about him. In hind sight, it was the best thing that happened to him. He made friends and got invited to birthday parties. His little friends call him on the phone. He seems to gravitate towards the trouble makers and to kids who are also Quirky. He is the kid who is friends with the child in the wheelchair and with the biggest trouble maker in the class. He is quick to cut off people. If he doesn’t like the way a friend is acting, he decides that he doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore. At 9 years old, he already knows what it took me years to discover… you only have 1 or 2 real friends.

Like I said, he is that kid that is smart but doesn’t like to be challenged. He was supposed to go into the gifted class but my husband and I were concerned that he would become too frustrated and would have to pull him out. He does not like reading or writing and it shows in his work. Don’t get me wrong, he is above grade level but doesn’t seem to care or want to show it.

Last year, the first day of the NYS ELA I asked my son about this test. His response, “I was the first one done. It was so easy!” Can you picture my cringe. We all know this usually means DOOM! What did he get on the State Tests in 3rd grade? A high 3 on the ELA and a 4 on the math without even really trying!

This year, his teachers are hard on him and contact me with issues that are going on in the classroom. I am glad about this. In previous years, I didn’t hear anything at all and during parent teacher conference we would be blindsided by his behavior.

I told you this was a rant! I just thought some background knowledge would help you to help me. I am so frustrated at this point. He is so smart but gets frustrated so easily. He doesn’t like to take risks or to try new things. He will not read aloud in the class. He just started reading in a small group. He doesn’t like to be told what to do. He wants an explanation for everything he has to do. Usually, as long as you have a reason, he will do it. He gets angry fast and will slam something. Doing homework with him can be a nightmare. If something is wrong, it’s like the end of the world! I don’t make it better because I have a short fuse with him, especially during homework.

I know being in the ITC class has helped him but we are debating about requesting that he be in a regular general ed class next year.
So what would you do? What advice would you give to his teacher?