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Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Suddenly the Teacher was taken by a T - rex

We announced to our public school, this year that we we're converting to Judaism. To be frank, last year, they had tried ramming a certain other religion, down our child's throat from day one.

We got some what annoyed. There was, no 'would it be ok'.., 'do you mind'.., it was simply Drones sector 7 ..Fridays.

Last year our daughter, who is appearing to be very gifted, read 88 books out of a target 40 books for a certain government sponsored reading challenge list.

Despite her running out of her elementary readers from that list, and exhausting the school and local library's resources, she was encouraged by an exceptionally dedicated public school teacher.

Right: After 13 weeks, the T rex became tired of the monotony.

Last year our 5 y.o. was reading the next year levels readers.

She won numerous certificates for reading, spelling, mathematics, behavior...we ran out of space on the fridge.

A New Teacher :

This year instead of reading her level (grade 1) readers she was reading grade 2 readers, she is now onto grade 3 readers and they are quickly running out. She takes her English and Reading classes in another higher grade.

The reading challenge which she did last year and blitzed, was not being supported to the extent that it should be by our rural based school, I think we were supposed to forget about it.

The School in some ways reflects a rather too laid back approach to education, an approach which is mirrored within the town the school is located. I imagine things will pick up when Tractor Driving 101 is being offered, but until then its pretty much 'She'll be right'.

Access to the Library?

Anyway, with a great deal of persistence we managed to get the school to facilitate access to the State wide reading challenge which all schools in the city would participate in and, incorporate the schools library in the challenge, There was much apparent resistance as this would mean extra work for some.

Better late than never?

The school finally, belatedly, announced the reading challenge, the acceptance was quite poor, but never the less due to commitments made by the Principal he acted honorably and opened the library more than the 1 hour per week my daughter had been able to go to borrow books.

A teacher and the Principal volunteered to 'person' the library at Lunch for 30 minutes 2 days a week enabling my Daughter and very few motivated others to avail themselves to the books inside.

Well the turn out was so poor that apart from my daughter very few other children bothered to go to the library to the point of the library being closed when my daughter arrived to change her books.

That used to be the Library

The teachers weren't bothering to open the library anymore because my daughter was the only child of 200 students that wanted to change books.

My Daughter would go every day to swap her books if she could! She absolutely loves reading and reads at a voracious speed.

Summing up, we may have proven ourselves unpopular because:

1. We have created the need for another classroom where her teacher doesn't get to slack of for an entire morning because our daughter doesn't take the other certain religious classes.

2. A letter was sent by us asking for more access to the library than 1 hour a week. [The horror]

3. Staff have lost some of their lunch time in manning the library (which ended up being about 5 mins a day, as soon as my daughter had changed her books they would close the library as there would be no one else interested in borrowing).

4. An email was sent requesting that the looming acceptance deadline for acceptance to the Sate wide reading challenge not be ignored, (It was supposed to just come and go).

5. We declared that we are converting to Judaism and this requires our daughters teacher to have to provide an alternative, paper cut project etc when ever the the other religion influences classes, which is very often.

6. A teacher that we have a great deal of respect for, was going through a terrible personal family tragedy and made the terrible error of judgement in describing to 5-6 year old children that her very close [specifics avoided out of respect] relative who had been missing for months had decided to jump of a cliff and was dead.

That night after nightmares..

We contacted the school immediately, and the teacher was placed on compassionate leave, I insisted the teacher not be reprimanded as this was an exceptional outburst due to the situation, and she is a good caring teacher normally.

Where did her confidence go?

Our daughter has gone from being very self assured and confident and winning multiple awards to some what of an 'outsider'. The girls her age are using subtle devices to exclude her from their play.

Despite reading 4 times the normally allotted books this year for the reading challenge, and going up another grade (2 grades advanced ) in two of her subjects, she has received this year the grand total of 0, zero, nix, nothing, null, less than1, certificates.

To her teacher this year I would like to say:

I know you have previously taught classes from grade 1 and then progressed to grade 2 the next year with the same class, you better not be my daughters teacher next year!

I've watched you for an entire year squander away my daughters intellectual gift on 13 weeks of exploring dinosaurs and playing with dinosaurs and cutting out shapes on dinosaurs and colouring dinosaurs and arghhhh!

What's worse is we went from a superb example of a dedicated teacher last year to the absoute 'flakiest' this year.


Would you have said something to the school authorities?...

The Principal announced during orientation week this week, that classes will be decided first day next year, he clearly stated once they are decided that is it.

We don't want the same teacher, we fear that despite our daughter maintaining her passion for reading, another year of cutting out dinosaurs will drive both her and us crazy.

If we don't say something, we will possibly, end up with the same teacher, If we do say something the Principle will 'leap' to the defense of the teacher and we will add to our growing list of 'unreasonable' expectations.

What to do? We live very remote, changing schools isn't an option, until we move to a large capital city later next year.

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