Tyler's 5th grade teacher didn't like him. She said he asked too many questions.
For the first time ever, Tyler did not like school.
Then he came home one day and announced he was put into the lowest reading group.
That would have been fine had he not been at the top of his class up until then.
Something was wrong. I didn't let Tyler know this at the time, but I went in and talked to Mrs. S.
This was 16 years ago but I remember when I asked Mrs. S why Tyler
was in the lowest reading group she said, "That is how he tested! I can only go by how he tested."
I asked if she would mind testing him again because I told her he was an excellent reader.
He read all the time, he loved to read.
She said something about how she can only test him once or twice a year and that was it.
It also didn't matter to her when I said Tyler had always loved school in the past
and something was wrong this year. I wanted to understand so I could help him.
I tried to choose my words carefully as to not put Mrs S on the defensive.
All she could come up with was Tyler tested low in his reading, and he asked too many questions.
When I told Tyler's Dad about this that evening, it did not set well with him at all.
He insisted we make an appointment with the principal. So I did.
It turned out to be the one and only time we had ever asked to meet with a principal.
The next day, both Bill and I, along with Mrs. S gathered around the principal's desk.
Mrs. S stood her ground that Tyler could not be tested again in his reading,
and that he asked too many questions.
The principal was basically the mediator and supported her teacher....
even with the ridiculous things she was saying.
I learned on that day that a principal, for a variety of reasons,
is going to side with her teachers. As much as I loved our principal.
So nothing was accomplished.
Two weeks later Tyler's Dad was killed.
Both Mrs. S and the principal, along with all of my boys' teachers and principals,
attended his funeral.
Tyler returned to school about a week later.
Life was a lot harder now trying to adjust to life without his Dad,
plus all the other issues that go along with grief.
The principal helped me arrange a private home teacher for Tyler for the remaining months of that year.
(He was back at school for 6th grade, and did well again.)
I later found out Mrs. S was going through a divorce at the time.
I then had more understanding towards her, and why she may not have been her best that year.
Then she later married the janitor, as did two of Tyler's previous teachers.
Not the same janitor I must add. At least I don't think so.
So yesterday when I read Tyler's blog post,
the year he was in Mrs. S's class came rushing back to my mind.
Here's a very condensed part of Tyler's blog post:
"As a family, we attended the annual Math/Stat Fall Picnic in a local park this evening...
I am considered staff because I am an instructor for a stats recitation course.
and we got to meet his wife and kids.
No, he actually is the best. I have never been asked so many questions by one student before.
He knows me better than I know myself.
I was embarrassed for a moment.
The moral of this story:
Don't let one teacher label your child.
And don't let your child allow a teacher to label him/her.
And what one person may consider an annoying quality in a child,
may turn out to be the quality that serves him well later in life.
Just had to say.