Last night Havoc and I talked about his teacher some more. He told me he'd figured out her system. He said that now he knows he's done something right when she stops telling him all the things that are wrong with whatever he's working on. I asked him if she ever told him he'd done a good job. He said no. I asked him if she was that way with everyone. He said no, there were a few kids she praised a lot and some other kids like him that she only said "bad" things to. He said it was ok though, now that he'd figured out her system. (Doesn't that make you want to cry? Or SMACK that bitch? Maybe I've said that before. Sad to have to say it again.)
I am really not in favor of creating and and "us against The Man" kind of mentality but I need my kid to know that I do NOT agree with this woman's "system"!! I told him exactly what I objected to. We talked about how this is likely not the last terrible teacher that he'll have. We talked about how we needed to come up together with strategies for him to learn and be nurtured despite the somewhat toxic environment this teacher has created. Havoc promised me that he would keep being respectful to her and that he would work hard to correct the challenges she'd identified for him (being more focused on the work at hand, reading only the books she wanted him to read in class, not talking or squirming around). He also promised me that he would say ten good things about himself, to himself every day and that he would listen for when other grown ups said positive things about him and share them with me. He told me that his other teachers - the math group teacher, the art teacher, the teaching assistant, the literacy coach - are all positive and encouraging people. He said it was easy to see the difference between the way they taught and the way his main teacher taught.
Havoc was glad I talked to him about all "this stuff". He was proud of his report card and surprised about the other things the teacher said about him. He'd felt sick to his stomach when he'd first heard how the conference went. He'd been outraged in a very 8 year old way that his teacher told us he was so far behind when he wasn't. ("Mama, I promise I'm on Chapter 16 but she'd told me to go back and write more about earlier chapters before writing about that one, so I did! I'm not behind! She KNOWS I'm not.") He knows now that he's not in trouble with us. He knows we are proud of him and he has some appropriate strategies for navigating better in that classroom. He loves his friends and doesn't want me to try to have him switched. He loves school in spite of his teacher. He said that he can find a way to make it work. He told me that it was like how he was sure when he grew up (to be a chef) that he would love his job even if there were one or two difficult people to work with. I LOVE my kid!
Later he said, "I forgot to tell you one more thing about my day when I got distracted by us talking about 'elllsnowot'."
Me: "By us talking about what?"
Havoc repeated what sounded like "ellsnowot."
Me: Owl sweat? Elf snot? What were we talking about?!
Havoc: Elf snot? Mom, gross! We weren't talking about elf snot or owl sweat. We were talking about elsewhat. ELSE. WHAT. We were talking about elsewhat and I forgot to tell you this funny thing.
Then he went on to tell me the funny thing - but I think the word elsewhat is funnier. Look at my kid making up words to fit his need. And his teacher doesn't think he's creative? I am fixing to give her what for (and maybe a bowl of elf snot or owl sweat too.)