Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cause For Alarm??

I'm frustrated to say the least. I got Paul's report card and the notes are very concerning. Things like Paul is calling himself "stupid" and that he has become increasingly irritable and uncooperative at school. Also mentions him being bullied.

Suggestion is for him to come to school well rested. Since when is nine plus hours a night not enough?

Why didn't I know of this sooner?

My gut reaction is to yank him from school. Just a few weeks ago, I met with his tutor and she told me something totally different.

I already called the school and left his teacher a message.

**Big Sigh**


  1. The biggest problem I have with our school situation with Jackson is the lack of communication. It is beyond frustrating. Then when I do get correspondence it "has been going on for a while". I can completely understand your concern. Sorry.

  2. Yes, those are definitely cause for concern...and hints that the bullying is pretty severe. It sounds like depression. Sorry to hear about this! Kids are so mean these days. Makes me nervous about Eli and what will happen to him in school...

  3. I can understand your concern. I wonder if some of these issues may be the result of him still learning the language. In my speech-language classes we learned that when people learn a 2nd language they often develop a basic communication competence (BC) before an academic communication competence (AC). Sometimes other people can forget that a person does not yet have AC since they are able to carry on a conversation in the second language. I don't know what kind of class Paul is in and if he gets any ELL services; however, I wonder if some of the feeling that he is "stupid" and irritability/uncooperativeness is due to having difficulty understanding or keeping up with classwork due to language/educational gaps - especially if he does well with a tutor who can work with him at his own pace. I know I would probably be irritable and not want to cooperate if I was continually struggling with lessons.
    Regardless, I would be concerned about how Paul is viewing himself - you want him in a learning environment where he feels positive about himself. And bullying is a serious concern. I would at least make sure that there is better communication with the teacher as these are comments that I am sure you would want to know about as soon as they are occurring rather than waiting until the required report card to hear.

  4. Definitely sounds like depression. Poor Paul. I am sure you know this, but I can't emphasize it enough, please get him help ASAP. I've been there as a kid just a little older than Paul and it's really miserable. I found it easy to feel disconnected from my parents and feel like they weren't on my side or didn't get it. I'm always here to talk.

  5. As a teacher, these are not comments that should be first time addressed on a report card. I think before you soaked too much into your mommy sponge, you need to have a face to face meeting with teacher to find out what her comments really meant and go from there.

    I had a teacher write things on M's report card but when I went and talked with her things seemed much different. She apologized and said she was rummy from doing so many report cards and could see what she wrote was not an accurate description of what she wanted to convey.

    No matter not fun to deal with, I am sorry!

  6. I am a teacher and just completed report cards. The comments that you mentioned should have been brought to your attention when they occurred. So sorry.

  7. Since when is getting bullied your child's fault? The ball is in the school's court and I'd either add him to the home school list (since you home school) or force the school to take action against the bully or both! I will not tolerate my child being bullied under any circumstances!

  8. My foster child attends public school as in our state we are not allowed to homeschool, but on days when PS is closed she will school with us. Without fail for 2-3 days after being home with us she will have problems at school that she thinks will make her have to come home.

    I know she likes her teacher and going to school. I think she feels a little left out as she is the only that leaves the house in the morning.

    Does Paul wish he could stay home with you guys?

  9. Yes, yes, and yes, it is cause to be concerned about this! I speak from current experience with my 14 yr old son. My son is currently on hospital homebound schooling because he had a mental breakdown from the bullying he was getting at school. We knew nothing of the bullying until right before his breakdown (and he hasn't been in school since Christmas break).

    I am glad that Paul's teacher told you about the bullying but wonder why it took her so long to tell you and what is she doing about it on her end. She should have sent a note home or called you sooner.

    I will keep you guys in my prayers that a good end can come of this and the teacher co-operates in ending the bullying for Paul.


  10. Perhaps when you meet with the teacher you could insist on a daily report card to monitor his progress?

  11. Irritability is a sign of lack of sleep. Nine hours may not be sufficient as most pre-teens need 10-12 hours a night. My 10-year old sleeps 11 hours a night and 12 if I don't have to wake her. If you have to wake him in the am he is probably not getting enough sleep. Maybe the teacher can start emailing you with progress reports. Best of luck.

  12. Sounds like reason enough to bring add him to your home schooled kids to me. But that's obviously just my opinion.

  13. definitely cause for concern but not necessarily alarm. when i first read this, my instant reaction was that he's headed towards depression. but that wouldn't be completely surprising given all he's been through in the past year! the boy has left his home country, had to learn a new language, got a HUGE family, new culture, that's enough to give ANYONE some trouble. i've followed your blog for long enough that i think you know i'm supportive of your adoptions & family, so i hope what i say you will take knowing that i am not attacking you AT ALL... obviously i'm not in your home so i don't know, but is it possible that adding another child so soon has moved the focus off of his & Anastasia's adjustment (which obviously isn't going to be over in a few short months, it's an ongoing thing) and onto your newest daughter? perhaps all he needs is some special time & attention, and maybe some extra help with school. personally, i'd seriously consider homeschooling him. then he'd have more time to adjust & become more English proficient, he'd have more 1-on-1 time, and he'd have a bit of a safety net.

    doesn't mean it has to be permanent, maybe he just needs a little time. :-)

    i will be praying for him & for you and John as you make decisions about what to do for your son. :-)

    - michelle

  14. absolutely cause for concern. I would think about bringing him home too BUT- I would want to hear the teacher's perspective AND his...has he said anything to you about bullying or maybe he just thinks that is part of school?
    Big hugs and praying now for direction and discernment for you.

  15. I've been dealing with some school frustrations too. It's frustrating when they describe your child completely different than the one you know! I hope you get it figured out.

  16. Would I be out of line to suggest homeschooling? Not saying that -just so he won't have to learn to deal with others--teachers etc. But maybe the material is not being presented in a way that he can understand etc--or they are moving along too quickly-and he needs a little more time to think things through as he is getting used to a new language and culture.
    As for the bullying--probably with all the adjustments he is making right now-he does not need to put up with that.
    Just my 2 cents worth

  17. Can he join your others at home? Or is that completely out of the question? Might be time to consider it. :)

  18. Yes, he sounds depressed.

  19. It's so frustrating when the teacher doesn't share in the team concept of teaching a child!

  20. I don't think we can overestimate the stress a child experiences when he has to be in the already emotionally dangerous social setting of school, without the background or language to even understand what is going on. Even I, English speaker that I am, hear my 7th grade students saying things and I have no CLUE what they mean. And the little jokes, phrases, sayings - you never know if they are just funny or are they rude? Are they making fun of something I said or did, or just referring to some popular TV show? It is emotionally stressful! And kids who have been in an orphanage are often socially much younger than their chronological age - to say nothing about being oblivious to many cultural things. Add to that the competitive nature of the classroom. If I were thrown into Moscow University, I'd darn well be saying I was stupid, too! Before everyone around me started saying it!

  21. When you are in an environment where you have to constantly struggle to understand everything, 9 and a half hours might not be enough. And yes, I'd be concerned, and yes, I'd pull him from school.

  22. The points may be valid, but they should have been communicated to you fully. Sorry you are having to deal with this!


  23. My first reaction is "homeschool!". But that's always my first reaction!
    Praying for Paul and for you guys as you figure this all out.

  24. Before I yanked Paul from school I would set up a face to face with his teacher or at least a set time where you can discuss these issues. She needs to give you examples of him being uncooperative and irritable so you can try to discover the underlying reasons for these behaviors. Is there a common pattern - like he is always irritable/uncooperative before lunch - maybe he is hungry or anxious to deal with bully at lunch/recess. Or maybe it is always around reading time etc. The parent and teacher are partners in educating the child.
    Ask how long this has been going on? Did he just have a bad week/couple of days when she was working on report cards and that is what stuck in her mind when she was writing them.

    Every child needs a different amount of sleep it may not be enough for him. He may be goind through a growth spurt and need more.

    I love following your Blog and think that you are AMAZING! You will figure this out and find the best way to help Paul be successful!!

  25. I'd vote for homeschool too. These sound like the issues my 2 had at school, issues which the school thought weren't that big but made my kids ill.

    I should add that nowadays, at 19 and 17, they are holding their own just fine in college (I'm in the UK) and have loads of friends. I was bullied all the way through school and, even now, I still have issues with trusting people. I didn't want mine to have the same problem.

    Lisa B
    Hampshire, UK

  26. So sorry about the lack of communication with the school and that Paul is having a hard time at school. Sometimes teachers forget that teaching is a team effort (though they are quick to blame parents for being uninvolved when test results are in and the performance of the students just don't line up with the resources put into America's public educational system). I am surprised that the recommendation would be additional sleep - did they address what they are doing to deal with the bullying? Kids are just so incredibly cruel and with bullying being in the news lately, I would hope the school would take this seriously!

    I would have seen more a connection between the bullying and how Paul is handling school than with his sleep patterns! Hopefully, a chat with his teacher and tutor will shed more light. All the best as you navigate this situation.


  27. Hi! This is a tough situation to be in ask God for direction and he will direct you in the right direction. Bullying is never fun and it is the school district responsible to stop it.But parents can help and work with the school district to end it. I feel that if the school district had concerns they should have told you when the problems were happening not wait until the report card was sent out. Have the teacher send a daily notebook home with your son that lists his progress and any concerns she may have. It is hard on the child to be put in this situation does the school not care about the child?If the school did notes would have been sent home before now.But due to the poorer school districts many classrooms can be over crowded and under funded.Teachers can be over worked and tired and may miss some things.Sorry your child was missed ,Pat


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