When School Fails the Child


I had one of those dreaded meetings today. Just like many other times, the short time revolved around the teacher defending her teaching techniques rather than how we could work together to come up with a plan to help Chase be more successful in the classroom. I don’t know how to tell teachers that none of this is about them personally. Every year, another teacher is replaced by a new face. What I do find disturbing is their unwillingness to budge from their ways. As a parent of a kid who struggles more than most would understand, I have had to admit to myself that he just does not learn like other students. Teachers make assumptions about him based on other children and I really think it’s unfair. One obvious example is this teacher told me when she tells the students to brainstorm what the answer might be or why an experiment might turn out one way or another, he just sits there and writes nothing. Instead of asking why, she jumped to her most obvious conclusion. When I explained that Chase does the brainstorming in his head and a few minutes does not allow him to get his thoughts from his brain through his pencil and onto his paper, I think she finally understood. He is often misjudged in the classroom and so many things could be cleared up if the teacher simply asked. I get they have a lot of students but he is just as worthy of learning as every other kid sitting at a desk in a class. It’s not his fault and I wish teachers understood the amount of sacrifice, anxiety and extra hours these kids put in just to keep their heads above the water. It makes me sad that it’s the same conversation every single time. My heart breaks every night before I go to sleep wondering what ball will fall on top of him the following day. It’s always something and the anxiety it causes all of us is excruciating beyond belief. Shout out to parents who know this struggle. My love and support go out to you because I know the toll this takes on you too. Sometimes I wish I could do a reality show on this subject. One that might actually change what is going on in our public schools and give these kids the break they need to survive a school system who will never meet their needs. 

8 thoughts on “When School Fails the Child

  1. I read your post with compassion and understanding. I have experienced similar conversations with teachers about my children’s abilities. The institutionalised thinking by teachers that I have encountered reflects the same defensive position from the teacher you write about. You can lose so much time just trying to steer them out of that thinking and face them in the direction of a solution. I had just to repeat through example – rather than telling – that my son was capable of more. How much you determine success in life is linked to education is naturally a personal choice, but from what you say, you are giving him the most important investment he will ever have which is to strengthen his self-esteem.

    You may not have seen this, but it’s well worth a watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the response and sharing the video. I really needed to see it today. Sometimes we believe that the things that make our kids different in comparison to the group of kids considered normal will hold them back. There are days in my own son I see his unique way of thinking and exploring makes him extraordinary but his grades sent a message that contradicts anything good. I am so grateful you shared this at a point when I have hit rock bottom. You have restored my hope and faith that the school system cannot define our success of failure. Thank you. This means more than you will ever know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I couldn’t be happier that this made such a positive impact for you, and gave you a bit of candlelight in a really dark place.

        I have catalogues of examples of people who have achieved success in life who walked out of education with either no grades or very few. And lists of people who achieved academic and professional success yet are desperately unhappy, some turning to alcohol or drugs to prop themselves up.

        Keep on ramping up his self-esteem and strengthening his confidence – they are the BEST defence, and better gauge of a happy life than any grade will EVER give you.

        And if you hit rock bottom again, get in touch and I’ll bombard you with examples of successful happy people who dropped out or achieved poor grades (me included 🙂 ).

        Liked by 1 person

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