I have a weird kid.
I like the fact I have a weird kid.
My kid has wild dyed hair and is perfectly content finding a corner and listen to music and drawing for hours on end.
My kid is my best playmate.
I am the parent who blatantly fusses for the kid to come play with me when I feel like I have been ignored too long. I hate when they are in their room for more than 5 minutes. My kid does not hate me for whining like this.
My kid is a strange anomaly to most of their teachers. The good ones get my kid and their quirks and even encourage it. The ones who don’t get my kid, feel it is their civic duty to make my kid bend to the will of the flock.
My kid tells me what the other kids talk about: the opposite sex, drugs, sex, fashion… and expresses their lack of any desire to interact with people who find that important.
My kid has friends, a few very close ones they have known since they were a toddler, some new, but all of them a lot more multi-faceted than what they describe at school. Sure, my kid is shy, but so was I at that age, and its something we talk about a lot. They’re working on it.
This year, my kid has one particular teacher who seems to kind of have it out for them. This particular teacher is my kid’s history teacher, only one class. My kid tells me they feel like they are constantly being watched by them and she seems to call them out for some of the most mundane of things. Most recently, my kid finished their lunch before the others in their group and went to put their head on the table until the rest of the class finished. This apparently was a big issue to this one teacher, she who was not even responsible for my kid’s class at that time.
I’ve already spoken to her once. I got a call from her to tell me my kid was playing in class. My kid had already told me all about it and that I might get a call and that what she saw as “playing” was actually my kid telling the one who tried to engage them to leave them alone. Even the teacher admitted she hadn’t seen enough to deduct what actually occurred. I was pretty pointed in telling them they would not have a problem with my kid since my kid didn’t like anyone in that class.
I may have been the catalyst when I said that. I don’t know. But this is now three or more months of hearing about my kid getting nitpicked and it seems to just be escalating. So I asked my kid if they wanted me to step in, they grudgingly nodded, and I sent a note. My kid is usually tight-lipped and wants to deal with things themselves… so it took a great amount for them to admit they needed me. The note pretty much asked:
“Do you have an issue with my child in particular that you feel the need to govern them even outside of the one class they have with you? If so, let me know. I would also like my kid present.”
I get a voicemail while I was in a meeting telling me about how she was trying to “encourage” my child to “interact more with their peers” and the class in general and how my kid seems to be “withdrawn the last couple weeks”.
By the time I get it, unfortunately, its long after the one class and I figure I will call the next morning when spawn is present. I asked my kid what the heck she was talking about and they just shrugged and suggested it might be because they don’t raise their hand much, but doing so means she makes a spectacle of you and won’t let you speak, so my kid does not like to raise their hand anymore.
I’m irritated, which means I need to let things steep for a while until I can gather my thoughts and make sure I do not channel the ragey inner Scottish ginger of my mother.
I called the next morning, unfortunately she had not come in yet, and although it started as a simple response and a potential reschedule, I realized I’m done. Something changed in me that just snapped and realized I did not want to waste another second having to tell this woman to back off of my kid.
My message to her started off apologizing for missing her call but admitting that perhaps during the day wasn’t a great idea considering how hectic things get at my workplace. However, there was nothing about my child’s social skills that I felt she was qualified to teach in any way. I told her that there was a brief period when my child was genuinely enjoying the class, but if a kid feels harassed for participating, then they will stop participating. That’s not some failing in the kid, that’s logic and human nature. That no one would ever trust a teacher who spends their time trashing students to other students. Again, that’s just being smart. Especially since said teacher seems to be picking their kids for information to use against them.
I said I had already watched as my kid cried themselves to sleep every night from a teacher who retired 35 years too late to not bully every child they had come across and I had zero patience for any further issue. That I was done and this really needed to be the last I heard of any targeting of my kid or my next contact would be the principal, then the board. That the last couple weeks weren’t the issue, the past few months were. I told her that everything she did and said was being watched and perhaps what she needed to be more concerned with was the example she was setting. As it was, I was glad for the fact it was an example my kid rejected. I thanked her for her time and hoped she would have a remaining good year.
I… have been really tempted to pull my kid to an online school instead.
My kid is a terrible morning person with crap organization skills, but then I also have to ask… what would my thoughts on school been like if all the bullshit had simply not existed?
What the hell do you do when the bully is the teacher?
I have to admit, this particular school has really hardened me to the plight of teachers. I know there are some really, really good teachers, my kids has had a few of them… but why oh why does it seem that the worst bullying my kid has had to contend with isn’t coming from their peers, but from the source that is supposed to protect and guide them? What the heck do I do when the peers start joining in? I know that is coming.
Where is the safe haven for the weird kid then? Last I checked there is a shitload of us weird kids… where are we in school though? I cannot seem to find so many there.
I was the weird kid. I had the weird dyed hair, the combat boots, the bizarre rumors around school of satanic accusations or sexual deviancy. I had a more interesting life through the rumors in school than I ever did in reality, so I found it all very amusing. This wasn’t even the teachers, just the students… but I cannot begin to explain the amount of relief I have that Columbine never happened while I was still in school. I cannot even fathom how much of a target I would have been by not only the students but the teachers as well had any of that happened while I was still within their grasp.
You see, from what I remember, the oddballs like me had what people considered pretty dull existences. We liked drawing, movies, music, Dungeons & Dragons, comics, video games, philosophy, photography and just generally not doing much of anything really exciting to most people. The “popular” kids of my day were the ones getting pregnant, getting treated for STD’s, switching partners faster than socks, getting abortions, experimenting with drugs, drinking, joy-riding and generally making a nuisance of themselves.
The popular kids were also the ones the teachers would back up, either because they too were the popular kids or they just wanted to be among them. The weirdos like me rarely were. In that sense, I was lucky. I did have a few unexpected but very strong allies in the teaching force back then, but I’m pretty sure I would have been interrogated, searched, kicked out and possibly even arrested just for being different had school shootings been a thing at the time, especially considering the widespread panic and fear of their own children that followed. I had a lot of hate of quite a number of the people in school. At age 17, I could have given you a nice long list of exactly who I would have loved to seen gone. It doesn’t mean I planned on acting on it though.
My school was already trying to have it passed that we would have to have clear backpacks and purses so everyone could see everything we had at all times. Thankfully, this didn’t pass. Imagine if you had a condition you had to carry meds for at all times, a pack of depends for a urinary tract issue, or your monthly required larger than average materials to keep under control. This was the South, just having possession of the materials to have safe sex meant you were a deviant who caused underage sex to happen to anyone around you.
This is when I think “wow, I could avoid all of that if I just opt to let Spawn do online classes instead.”
It is SO tempting.