Monday, February 2, 2009

Sometimes we fail

Tonight as the kids came home from school they each handed me their report cards. Now these are not your average report cards. They do not get graded A, B, C, D, F in English, Grammar and such. They get graded 1=Below basic, 2=Basic, 3=Proficient, 4=Advanced for overall subjects and then each subject is broken down into sections that are graded S=Secure, D=Developing, B=Beginning, and N=Not introduced. These sections are like Identifies root of words, Determines values of variables in simple equations involving addition, subtraction or multiplication, Understands the basic structure of the Washington D.C. Government, recognizes the cultural origins of art from diverse historic periods, reads and notates music, comprehends concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention. The report card is not that easy to dissect actually.

I was nervous, scared and a little apprehensive when sitting down to read all 3 report cards. I sat comfortably on the couch and read through each one trying to figure out how each child is doing in the eyes of his/her teacher. Then I tried to assess them myself, by remembering the homework we do and how each responds.

UGH, this is totally frustrating and seriously whack. All the kids are passing but it seems they are BARELY passing. This does not make any sense to me. First off I have 2 that are in excel programs in school, how are they barely passing. They are all at Proficient or 3. This to me is very weird.

I remember being in school. I remember just how hard I tried for every grade. I remember the struggles to get through every class even the AP classes in High School. But elementary school was definitely not easy for me at all. So I look at my babies and hope and pray they do not struggle. I am not dumb or stupid by any means. I did well in grades 6-12. And Zeus himself is an extremely intelligent person. Heck, He has just graduated with his Masters degree with a very high GPA. He does not want that number released but let me tell you it does not get much better than that. So I sit here with tears in my eyes wondering how my 3 babies, which have 2 smart parents, are all just proficient.

I feel at this point like I have failed them. Zero is in 3rd grade and seems to be doing great. She is catching on to her math amazingly well. She is reading SO much better and understands meaning to words. I feel I have let her down. These are the years to build those all important stepping stones, load baring walls and foundation. These are the years they need me most. Do you feel that way?Am I looking at this all wrong?

Maybe just maybe I spent too much time for me. Maybe just maybe I wallowed in self pity for far too long. Maybe just maybe I expected too much from them. Maybe just maybe I should give up on my dreams for once and push them for their dreams. I guess I just thought my job as a parent was to assist. Maybe just maybe everything I thought a parent's role is, is completely opposite the real meaning of that role.

I sit here after evaluating myself as a Mom. I have successfully given myself an F for teaching and schooling. I am really feeling unbelievably hurt, defeated, and sad. I must help them learn more. I must help them learn faster. I just feel like leaving at 7:30am and coming home at 4:15pm is a very long day for a child under the age of 10. Then we sit down for anywhere from 20-60mins of homework x's 3 everyday. Then we have extracurriculars for about 1 hr twice a week to help round them out. To show them teamwork, skills and all those other things as long as instill physical activity. Then you factor in an our of cooking and 30 minutes for cleaning and then them in bed by 7:30-8pm. WOW, they did not have much time to sit and hone those skills they might be lacking in. Or have much QUALITY time with Mom and Dad. I am at a loss. What more can I do? Should I make the weekend more school time? Does it really have to be this intense? Do any of you feel this way? I hope I am not the only one out there that is feeling completely unworthy.

WOW, this motherhood thing just gets more complicated as the years go by. You think getting up at 2am to nurse your baby is hard. Honey, wait for this day. The report card day. The day you realize you have failed. The day you understand how important your job is and how unqualified you are to do it.

I have chosen to give up a few things that are my personal extracurriculars to focus on the learning aspect for my children. They are the future, not me. They are the ones that will need those skills to get through tough situations in life, not me. They are the ones that need my help, not me. They are the ones counting on me to give them the best of everything, not me. So in my journey to raise happy, healthy, law abiding, and productive members of society I have chosen to again take the backseat. I choose to be the crew. I choose to be setup team. I choose my babies.

At this very moment I am going to promise myself to put them 100% first. It is not what I want in life. It is what is best for them. I might be abandoning a lot of things but after receiving these 3 little pink sheets I feel completely inadequate. I hope you are not going through this and I hope none of you have to go through this. The deep sinking feeling is just really not fun. Quite disturbing actually. I can do this. I think. It is probably going to put me in the grave much sooner than expected but whatever I can do to get them to performing high in school that is the answer. So I guess all this rambling is just going nowhere but I just had to let it out and I know you all will still read me tomorrow so what have I got to lose? Thanks for listening. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being part of my bloggie buddies. Feel free to respond. I know I have several readers that do not respond and that is ok. I am glad you are here. Continue with me to follow this crazy, tragic, hectic, wild, happy, and insane life of a military family of 6.
Blessings to you


Charisse said...

Oh honey, I believe that you have confused the word PROficient with SUFficient. Here is the definition for PROficient : well advanced in an art, occupation, or branch of knowledge. As you can see, you are not doing poorly at all. Your children are ABOVE basic. They are doing QUITE well. You are not failing as a mother. They are perfectly happy, smart, well rounded children.

Worm's Woman said...

You are not alone in this at all!! You have been a mother much longer than me, but I have been a mother of school children longer...the day I met two little girls and had already fallen for their daddy...HARD.
Some things took me some time to learn and others I'm still learning.
1. It is just a dang piece of paper! And if you were in a different district that piece of paper would read completely different. I know this all too well. This is the first year my children have been in the same school/district they were in the year before. And as we have traveled the reports are different. Watch them and work on what you can see they are struggling with. Talk with the teacher. They often hate that piece of paper as much if not more than the parents because it doesn't tell the whole story.
I often struggle because my kids seems to have more trouble in school than I did at their age. So I put myself down for not doing what I should, and try to think what did my mom do that I'm missing. Truth is, times have changed, and school is just different. There is so much stinkin' testing being done there just isn't enough learning going on anymore!
2. YOU CANNOT PUT YOURSELF COMPLETELY ON THE BACK BURNER!! I have struggled deeply with this and often still do. But many other moms (including ones the ages of our moms) have given me the same advice. YOU HAVE TO MAKE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF! If you don't give yourself some attention you won't be good for your family. You will grow resentment and you won't be able to be fresh for them. I struggle with this a lot, but am learning. You don't have to make it something big like a long getaway. Maybe just an hour or two a week at the library for some alone time (one of mine), or tv time where no one is allowed to ask you anything. Or an hour on the phone with a friend who is fabulous to vent to. Can take it all in one ear and out the other. You have to do it!! This also teaches your children to know that we need to value ourselves.
Keep pushing through and don't come down on yourself. You're kids are happy, healthy, and know they are loved. They are getting an education. The results of that education won't always be what you want, but what in life is.
Ok I've gone on long enough. Main thing, know you are not alone and I often feel the same. I am dealing with a different but still discouraging situation with my child as we thing is to pray!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Dusty. . .as a second grade teacher I only wish I had more moms like you! Toby is right when she says even teachers don't always like report card time. Report cards do not tell the whole story of a particular child's progress that six weeks. A good teacher could probably rattle on for hours about how that child is actually doing in all of their subjects. As a teacher, I would much rather sit face to face with a parent and talk with them about their child than just hand them a letter grade or whatever on a piece of paper. The best thing that you could do for your children at this point is to speak with their teachers and discuss the things that you are concerned about (and ask questions!). I would venture to guess that things are not as bad as you think and if nothing else it would put your mind at ease. "Proficient" is nothing to despair about, it means that they know well what needs to be know in that area. You are a great mom and you know each of your children as individuals. Remember their strengths and start there. I've only just begun the whole mom thing! But, those are my opinions as a teacher. Best of luck!
Tiffany Pruett