I'm pretty happy with the way things went. We aren't moving her for right now. The principal said he wants to give the teacher a chance to make some changes and see how that goes first. We're giving it until the end of November officially, but if Tessa's upset stomach gets worse, we'll revisit it sooner.
I asked about the three weeks worth of work in her desk, and the principal was not very happy about it at all. The teacher said that they have two places to turn in work. One is for everyday work and the other is for unit work. She does not check the unit work every day, and most of what was in Tessa's desk was unit work. The principal told her she has to check Tessa's desk every day for her work, that there was no excuse for it going on that long. I could tell she wasn't very happy about him responding that way, but she agreed to do it.
I also asked her about the desk dumping incident. She said she didn't dump it; she just took every thing out and some things fell on the floor. I'm still not accepting of that answer, but I'm going to let it go for now. The principal told her that teachers have gotten too far away from learning and are now focusing too much on organizational skills. He said if a child is learning and is on grade level (which Tessa is) then organizational skills can come later. He told her teacher to back off of those for a while. I was pleased with that answer.
I also brought up the fact that the teacher said the kids weren't supposed to ask her questions during reading time. The principal's head whipped around to her when I said that, and she stammered something about giving them all individualized time. I told her that Tessa is behind, finishes up what she was working on and can't remember the instructions for the new work she's doing, so she just sticks it in her desk. The principal said that Tessa has to be allowed to ask her questions during reading time in order to stay ahead.
I told them that we were changing what we were doing at home with regards to work. My aunt lives across the street, and some of Tessa's friends from school go over there after they get off the bus so my aunt can babysit them until their mom gets off work. She wants to go there to play, and I would usually let her. We would come home, and then, she would do her homework. Now, she has to come home first and do her work first before she can go over there. I told her teacher that I wanted her to bring home the work that she didn't get finished with during the day, that this would serve as motivation to get her work done.
Her teacher said she thinks first graders should only be doing about 15 minutes of homework a night and parents have too much other stuff to worry about than work that wasn't done in class. The principal said, "You have parents here that want to help, so you can send the work home. Their system is going to be her motivation to get it done, so she can have her fun sooner." I agree, which is why we came up with the plan. So, even though her teacher didn't really want to do it, she's going to create a folder for us, put the work Tessa didn't get finished with in class in it, and we are going to work on it each night. This will also help us to see if it's a case of Tessa not wanting to do it or her not being able to.
She is also going to work to restore the relationship between her and Tessa. The principal wants her to do that first. I'm willing to give it another chance to see if she follows through with what she says she's going to do. The principal is willing to change her if need be, but he wants to try this first. I'm willing to do that.
The teacher had to fill out paperwork about all the the things she has to do in order for this to work, and we all signed it. I am going to hold her accountable to it. If it doesn't work within the next month, Tessa will be changing teachers, and the principal will be behind me on it.
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