Sunday, 10 May 2009

He Does Try

My son is a pretty great student, if I do say so myself. Basically, in Grade 2, he's an A/B student. Except in French. He hates it. He's completely demotivated. He's been through 3 French teachers this year alone, which I'm sure doesn't help. This last one has been around for a while. She is the mother of one of the students in my son's class. (I thought there was a rule against teaching your own child ...) She is also on the PPO (Parents Participating Organization) and the school's Board of Governors. I'm part of the PPO, so I can't escape her. On top of all that, her youngest daughter now has swim lessons the same time as my son, so we have to see her every Saturday morning.

Can you tell I don't like her? She is a bitch. She forces her ideas on others and reminds me of a cheerleader-type in high school who really hasn't grown up. She barely speaks to me and one time spoke about me in front of me. When I said something, she continued to lock eyes on the other person and act as if I wasn't even in the room. So I do have reason to dislike her.

But back to my son. At the end of January, he had 66% in French. Not good. Not good at all. His mark had fallen from the previous report card. My husband and I do everything we can to help him, but what it comes down to is our son really doesn't like the subject and doesn't have the desire to get better at it. Shame, because where we live we need it. I can't picture him being able to survive in this area. I'm guessing as soon as he's old enough, he'll move away to a place where he will never have to use French. Despite all this, I was shocked to see his most recent mark in French - 54%. We were told by the previous teacher that he physically changes as he comes into the room - like he really works himself up into an awful state because he anticipates the worst. (Part of me has wondered if that 54% is also indicative of how the teacher feels towards me.) I know he doesn't deserve a good mark - I've seen the results of his dictĂ©es. When we do them at home, he gets at least 4 out of 8. At school - 2 out of 8. 

Today is Mother's Day. He made me so many things. A flamingo, a fly or butterfly (both were made with pine cones and fake feathers), he painted a flower pot and there are 3 sunflowers growing in it, and 2 cards and a poem in English, and one card in French that says "Je t'aime Maman" inside. The teacher wrote Bonne FĂȘtes des Meres on the front. In French, he was supposed to come up with a rhyme for Mother's Day. Today he showed me this:

rassurant = reassuring
calmant = calming
invitant = inviting

Lovely words. He told me his English teacher helped choose the words. (Actually, she went to the French teacher who teaches the older kids and they picked out the words together.) At least he wrote them out himself. Apparently, this was wrong. The teacher we love so much crossed out his words and wrote down what she wanted to see.

Honestly, this has put a pall on my Mother's Day. I don't need to see her handwriting. Rassurant, calmant, invitant all rhyme. I don't need to be told I'm beautiful as the sky.

My son believes himself to be the worst student in the class. Maybe he is. But cripes, don't cross his work out and impose your own idea! Especially when it comes to his mother!

When I see this, it makes me wonder if she's pigeon-holed him as a hopeless case and anything he does is wrong. I'm not sure what to do about this. My husband has suggested talking to the principal. I'm not sure what that will accomplish. Might make things worse for my son.

I love him and I want him to do the best he can in school. I can't shake this feeling that whatever he does will not be good enough for her. He'll have her again for Grade 3 French. I'm sure they wouldn't make him repeat a grade because of one class. I hope not. But next year is going to be really, really tough for him.

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