Shocked and traumatised

I have come away from The Kid's first visit to school so shocked and traumatised that I don't even think I should be writing about it. Five minutes ago (when both kids were happily playing in the living room) I actually went in the laundry room, shut the door and sobbed for several minutes, before wiping away the tears and coming back in the living room, and telling myself to just breathe.

How...

How...

How it's even possible that:

a) I've missed it in all the research I've done and all the people I've talked to, and that

b) anyone would want to put their 5-year-old into such a learning environment, and that

c) there is going to be a good end to this, I know - I know! - there is going to be a good end to this. But... how?

***

I have researched and prepared for this transition to school for over a year. I have done extensive googling, I have read through all Education Review Office reports, I have talked to various support people from Ministry of Education, I have met with the school - several times. I have spent time in the classroom, on the playground. I keep an eye out, on an almost daily basis, for various educational research and just think - think! - and talk - talk! - with The Man on what we want from the school for our kids.

And yet today I walked into the classroom with The Kid, sat down on the mat to spend our first lesson with them, and within about half an hour I was thinking, oh my God, IS THIS WHAT THEY DO ON A DAILY BASIS!? WITH FIVE-YEAR-OLDS!?

There is a puddle of tears on the table in front of the laptop. Seriously, as I am typing this, I have tears rolling down off my cheeks and gathering into a puddle on the table.

What I saw today in that classroom goes so much against the grain of what I feel and think about early childhood education that I am sick to my stomach just thinking about the amount of googling I am going to do this weekend trying to figure out, on what planet this makes sense.

Accelerated Learning. I am going to google the heck out of what they call Accelerated Learning and I am going to track down who exactly thinks that this is good for children, and why they think it.

And whilst I would want to type here for another two hours explaining to you what I saw this morning, I won't, because I actually have two kids in the living room who want my attention, so I am going to go and be a mom. I am going to wipe away the tears, wipe away the little puddle on the table, I am going to breathe in, and out, and breathe in, and out, and trust that in the end, it'll work out.

Everything always does. In the end, everything always does.

But jesus do I feel like I've been hit in the stomach right now and struggling to breathe through the shock of HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE and HOW DID I MISS IT.

Jesus!

Edited to add: if I were living somewhere where we had some sort of a familial / social support system in place, grandparents maybe or good friends who were not at work at 1 pm on a Friday, I would call someone right now and say, please, please can you come to my home and just chill out in the living room for an hour whilst my kids take an afternoon nap so I can go for a walk and just breathe.

As much as I am trying to do some googling at the moment so I can get my head around what the hell is happening in the FIRST YEAR of this Invercargill central city primary school, I am not having much success. One, it's hard to read through tears. Two, I am feeling such a deep-seated revolt against what looked like a racelike, competition-based system of fast repetition that I really am not in a headspace to do unbiased research.

Kids under seven can learn numbers and letters and reading - of course they do - but if they do it through repetition and sight recognition rather than a systematic understanding of what reading is, and developing skills for learning (and mostly through play!!!), then from what I know it doesn't actually manifest itself in any benefit later in life. All it does is achieve kids who recognise letters and numbers better at 5 years old, but who are no better readers or mathematicians by age 10.

Jesus.

I'm sorry, but this is so f*cked up.

Edited to add 2: Do you know that feeling when you've sobbed for several hours and finally stop because you're all "sobbed out" and just so tired that the tears stay back from tiredness and what feels like inflammation of the tear ducts? Face puffy but mouth finally quiet?

That. I've got that now.

And it also means that I am now spending time talking to people on the phone because I am "talkable" again, rather than trying to gasp for breaths between sobs.

I struggle to believe that this is happening, but I am actually making arrangements to meet with another school Monday morning. I am thoroughly embarrassed and incredulous that this is even happening, but I cannot change the past so I can only look towards the future now and ask - again, and again, and again - what is important, and what's more important than other important stuff, and then we are going to, yet again, find some sort of a middle ground in all this.

F*ck this is so f*cked up.

And, man!, do I need people to talk to right now. Friends, family, education workers - anyone who's willing to discuss and share, maybe wait out a sob or two on my end, without trying to sell me some sort of an agenda.

I need to figure out if what was happening in this class this Friday morning was some sort of a "special" Friday morning where they were repeating the heck out of material they've covered earlier in the week and if it was, maybe, meant to be some sort of a "intensive" hour and a half of solidifying at a great pace which - at least to me - looked like something which was leaving several children way behind because they were simply not capable of working in such a manner.

Because if it was not - if this is what they do every day and how this teacher, in general, approaches 5- and 6-year-olds in her class...

F*ck, sorry, but this is just...

F*ck.

13 comments:

  1. Ma tean, et minust pole kasu, aga siiski.

    Pai. Kõik saab korda.

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    1. ...

      Pai vastu võetud tänuliku ilmega.

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  2. Mul on sama tunne oma lapse lasteaia suhtes.. ja ma ei suuda välja mõelda, kas ma peaks vahetama lasteaeda ning panema ta kooli kuuepooleselt, sest kui ta peaks seal veel seitsepooleselt käima, siis ta frustreerub sellest väljakutse puudusest, siis ... maidea.
    Kas mingeid alternatiivseid koole ei ole - Waldorfkool, vms?

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    1. Ei ole. On ainult riiklikud algkoolid konkreetsete valgaladega, ja neli-viis katoliku kooli. Ei Waldorfit, ega Montessorit, ega midagi muud selles vaimus.

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  3. Mida õpetaja ütles? Kas suhtlesid temaga sel teemal? Kas kooli kodulehel/infos on selle meetodi kohta viiteid või on see pigem õpetaja isetegevus? Kas seal koolis on 1 klassikomplekt poja vanuseastmele või saab õpetajaid/klasse vahetada?
    Kui tohib küsida, siis kas poeg õpib tavaklassis või saab ta ka mingit individuaalset õpiabi või saaks ta näiteks endale tugiõpetaja klassi? Eestis on see viimane termin tugiisik, kes klassiõpetaja antud ülesandeid siis lapsega omaette läbi arutab ja vajadusel toetab/aitab/juhendab.Lugesin mõnda aega tagasi, et te ei saanud teatud tüüpi abi pojale, mida arvasite, et hakkate saama (et ta loeti tublimaks), aga päris täpselt ei saanudki aru. Sellepärast küsin.
    Aga selline tunne on väga-väga tuttav, kui oled eelnevalt teinud hullult eeltööd, välistanud kõik mittesobiva, oled endaga rahul ja siis oled lõpuks mingil veidral põhjusel ikka olukorras, kus pisarad saavad ka otsa ja hämmeldus ei lähe ikka üle...
    See on väga hea, et juba uuesti tegutsema hakkasid ja uusi variante leida püüad. Jõudu!

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    1. Õpetajaga suhtlesime väga vähe, sest keset koolipäeva ei saa ju pikalt rääkida, aga homme pärast koolipäeva saame kõik kokku ja räägime. Klassikomplekte on üks ja seega "valida" ei saa. Ja isetegevus või mitte... Nii ja naa. Osalt on siin väga tugev riiklik surve laste õppeedukust üles punnitada (millega ma sellisel kujul tegelt nõus ei ole, aga see selleks), nii et osalt õpetaja vist üritab selle survega kaasa minna. Aga teisalt teeb ta asju, millest isegi direktor ei teadnud - ja kui meie tugiisik siis direktorile kinnitas paari asja, mida mina üles tõstsin teemana, et jah, Maria ausalt kirjeldas sulle neid asju, siis isegi direktor tegi ahaa. Sisuliselt pausideta back-to-back ülesanded viieaastastele lastele. Khm!

      Tugiõpetaja on klassis olemas, aga ta on niiöelda terve klassi peale ära jagatud, nii et meie poiss saab x % koguajast, nii et see on teema, mida peab vaatama, kuidas see reaalselt toimima hakkab - hetkel ma veel täpselt ei tea.

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  4. Lugesin postitust kell kaks öösel ja veetsin üle tunni googeldades. Ega ma palju targemaks saanud, sest kuigi leidsin infot nii Accelerated Learning meetodi, kui ka nii mõndagi muud Uus-Meremaa koolisüsteemi kohta, siis jäi mulle ikkagi segaseks kuidas päriselus seda süsteemi näiteks sinu poisi vanuste lastega kasutatakse.

    Aga jõudu ja vastupidavust järgmiseks 'lahinguks'. Loodan südamest, et leiate sobiva lahenduse.

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    1. Ma ei saa siiamaani aru, mis värk selle Accelerated Learning'iga on, sest sisuliselt see tähendab lihtsalt seda, et kool teeb rohkem kui 12 kuud õppekavast 12 kuu jooksul, et näiteks "18 months of expected progress in 12 months". Aga sel ei ole kindlat protokolli, KUIDAS seda teha. Nii et kui nad mulle räägivad Accelerated Learningu kohta, siis mul on ikka see küsimus, et okei, te üritate riiklikust õppekavast kiiremini õppida - aga KUIDAS!?! Et minu seisukohast on oluline, et ma tean, mida te mu lapsega teete, mitte aga kui kiiresti te õppekava läbite.

      Ja õpetaja... Noh, homme saab pikemalt rääkida ja suhelda, aga hetkel on selline tunne, et... Tegelt, ma ei hakka sellesse teemasse minema. Homme suhtlen ja räägin temaga ja seletan, mida meie koolilt lapse jaoks tahame, ja üritame aru saada, mida tema oma õpetamismeetodiga saavutada püüab.

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  5. Hugs, that's about all I can do unfortunately. Look at other schools, different teachers teach in different ways. Not sure what the actual curriculum expects, but maybe alternative schools? Montessori or something, can never remember what they're called. They're not public school though, so there's a cost but might be worth looking at.
    In any case breathe, maybe write down what you want to see for the kid's learning and approach schools to see if they can do that.

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    1. There are no private schools, so no Montessori, no Waldorf, or anything else like that. There are only public primary schools and a handful of religious primary schools (I think four or five, various versions of St ...'s). Only at the high school level it starts branching off with a variety of options available.

      Did you, too, feel like you were a pain-in-the-bum parent when you were getting your boys in school? Not actually wanting to hassle people, but feeling that you needed to anyway - because it was your role as a parent?

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  6. 6 aastaste lastega peaks õppimine küll toimuma mänguliselt. Naabri lapselapsed Inglismaal läksid kooli viiestena ja kool oli nagu lasteaia järgmine vanusegrupp. Lastes ei tekitanud stressi. Kas õpetaja on mingi uue metoodika juurutaja? Ehk peaks siis kooli juhtkonnaga rääkima. Olen aru saanud, et oma asukohalt on see koolimaja Sulle väga sobiv!

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