Friday, April 24, 2009

Big Teacher Is Watching Our Children (Through 20/300 Vision)

Just shy of her fifth birthday, Captain Chaos is a tomboy’s tomboy. I haven’t seen anything her two older brothers do that she hasn’t wanted to join in on. Chase chickens across the back yard? She’s the first to catch one and the last to let go. Ride bikes in the thick of heavy traffic? Make way for the pink Big Wheel. Paint the dog? She wants a brush. It never comes as a surprise to see her with a new scratch or bruise. It’s rare to see her with a clean face. So, when she came in from the back yard with a rash of red bumps near her left eye and few large, swollen bug bites on her right arm, I gave her a bath and watched her carefully for the next few days. The Boss immediately checked her over for chicken pox, the very first thing she does when any of the children sport a red bump located anywhere on their bodies. I don’t know how she is going to handle the General’s pending puberty and accompanying zits. The Captain’s bumps slowly began to fade the next day. Whatever it was, it appeared to be temporary.

The rash appeared on a Sunday afternoon. Three days later, I was picking up the Captain from her preschool when I was approached by one of the paraprofessionals who assist in the classroom.

“What did the girl do?” I asked.

“Oh, nothing,” she replied, stepping in closer to me. “When I was helping the Captain in the bathroom I noticed that she has a scab on her knee. The skin around it is red and swollen. We sent her to the school nurse. She cleaned the Captain’s knee with peroxide and put ointment on it. She wants you to continue to do this for the next few days.”

“We are aware of her knee,” I replied. “We’ve been cleaning it and applying Neosporin.”

“Oh, good!” she responded, obviously relieved. “You’ve seen it. You’re taking care of it.”

“Yes, thank you,” I told her. I finished strapping the girl into her trailer seat, climbed on my bike, and headed for home, shaking my head.

I just don’t get these people.

Captain Chaos attends preschool four days each week for three hours each day so that she can receive Occupational and Speech therapy. She receives these services because she has significant delays due to her cardiac history. Her teachers know this. They know her history, which also means that they know that we cared for a seriously ill girl who needed close attention at home. We didn’t farm-out this care. We provided it ourselves. We know this girl’s health history and needs better than anyone, except maybe her cardiologist.

Now, take this history and couple it with the fact that the girl has attended class three days this week with a rash on the side of her face and large red spots on her arm. The Captain’s teachers said absolutely nothing about her appearance. They didn’t ask about it. They didn’t send her to the nurse. They didn’t seek medical attention for our girl. But, she drops trou in the bathroom one day and reveals a cut knee and it’s off to the nurse for medical attention and directions for dad on how to care for his daughter.

Do they think we’re stupid?

I don’t understand why they’re so concerned about a cut knee but fail to notice or mention the rash on her face. I don’t understand why they think we need to be told about the cut knee. This girl cannot dress herself without help. They know this. Who do they think is getting her dressed for school each day, the blue jean fairy? How could I possibly dress her for school each day without noticing her knee? And if I cared for her through the intense recovery from her cardiac problems, why do they think they need to hold my hand through a cut knee?

I am convinced that these teachers and paraprofessionals simply do not put two-and-two together, or when they do, their answer isn’t four. Oh, I suppose that I should be grateful that they care enough for the Captain that they are helping her, but come on! If the glaring red rash on her face didn’t draw comment…they may not think that I am stupid, but a part of them must think that I am inept.

I felt a load of relief lift off of my shoulders last Thursday when I informed the Captain’s preschool teacher that I would be teaching the girl at home next year. I needed to tell them before her annual IEP meeting. The Captain’s kindergarten year will be at home with Major Havoc in a split K/1 homeschool classroom. If there is anyone to inspect my children and tell me something needs closer attention it will be their mother. Captain Chaos will get any of her therapy needs addressed through the county co-op. I won’t have to put up with the attitude that Dad needs to have his hand held through parenting his children.

Public school arrogance. I’ve had enough of it.


CrossView said...

Woo Hoo! Fun times at the Arby house are a' comin'!

I can't seem to make people understand that no one, and I mean no one, knows my kids like I do. We spend much time together and we talk and I see them at their best and their worst. I have to honestly say that I'm glad my days of dealing with the public schools are over. No regrets!

Big Doofus said...

You go, girl.

Wait a minute, you're a dude...and so am I. Sorry about that.

Sadly, the preschool teacher is probably used to dealing with parents who don't really take care of their kids.

Linda said...

Unbelievable. I honestly believe that teachers are being conditioned to believe that part of their job is protecting children from parents. It's insane and wrong on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say that in Kansas there seems to be an unusually large number of overly suspicious teachers who always think the worst about parents and rarely use their brains to determine if their "sage advice" is necessary or if it's insulting. Sadly, they are everywhere and they are plentiful.

Take 'em on, DAD!