Monday, January 07, 2008

i need your wisdom

Those of you who read this blog I would count as my friends, my family, and those who inspire me. Your wisdom and insight is something I count on regularly. I could use that wisdom about now. Especially from you mamas. My oldest daughter is going through something that has thrown me for a loop. It seems that she is having a problem with one of her teachers. I think that may have stemmed the problem we are having now. She will be eleven years old later this month and she has been having separation anxiety attacks nearly as bad as she did when she was in Pre-K. Shaking and crying when it comes to even talking about school. She says she will miss me too much. As flattering as that is, I think there is far more to it. She gets straight A's, has scads of friends, and is adored by most of her teachers. The teacher in question has been yelling quite a bit lately. Is she too sensitive? Is there too much pressure? Doers she really just miss me? PLEASE HELP!!! Talk about feeling like a bad mama. I have NO idea what to do. I have listened and tried to talk, but to no avail at this point. Sigh. Wisdom needed. Now.

30 comments:

Anna said...

Heidi-

Have there been other signs of change from your daughter? Sleeping problems? Weight gain/loss? Other signs of regressive behavior? I think that this definitely requires follow up with the teacher in question, along with the school counselor and perhaps the principal. It could be as simple a matter as she is feeling great pressure to perform as she gets ready to enter middle school, but it could be that she is being harrassed on the playground, or feels belittled by her teacher, or a number of other things. Bottom line is that when a child shows such a change in behavior, you do want to get to the heart of the matter before the situation progresses. I know that this is probably making you a little more anxious, but most likely, she is just dealing with hormonal surge on top of performance anxiety. Keep us posted, and I'll be praying!

Anna

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Oh, that's so hard Heidi. Definitely go and have a face-to-face with this teacher. Trust your instincts, feel out the teacher and see if he/she is the problem. If so, go to the guidance counselors or principal. If not, get the teacher to work with you to find out if it's peers, performance anxiety, ???. I'll pray too. Poor thing. :o(
Hang in there Mom, you will get this figured out--and remember lots of extra hugs.
Smiles, Karen

Melissa said...

hugs to you, heidi! i hope you can get to the bottom of this. i would also suggest going to talk with the teacher in question, and the school counsellor or her form room teacher (if you have such a thing there?) wishing you lots of strength, and her, too! i remember how hard it was to be that age.

Rachel said...

How distressing for you both Heidi. You know my girls are quite a bit younger, so I won't pretend I have the answer for you. But I am definitely in favor of scoping out the teacher. Obviously there is something going on at school whether it's the teacher or peers. I hope you are able to find out what is wrong. That was a tough year for me.

beki said...

Oh dear, it definitely sounds like there's more to the issue. Trust your gut. Do what you have to to get to the bottom of this. Big hugs to you!

mariss said...

Although new to your blog, and not a mom yet, I feel for your situation and your daughter.

I'm sure you're definitely not a bad mama, but it certainly hurts to see your loved ones in pain or scared.

Will your daughter open up more about the problem, even though it's making her cry? Could she write it down in a note or something non-verbal?

I see a lot of good advice from the other people, and I agree that you should speak to her teacher or perhaps a guidance coundselor who is not involved in the situation.

Best of luck to you and your little one.

Jada2929 said...

Poor girl. I'm afraid I might be in the same situation in a few years...
She won't tell you if something specific is going on? My only advice would to proceed lightly when talking to the teacher-- non conformationally will get you far and by coming in peace you'll get the best read on the teacher without even having to ask many questions.Does that make any sense? Hang in there. Does she have an outlet for her stress? Something that's low pressure and non about competition? Writing? Reading?

Sarah and Jack said...

Well, as a former middle school teacher, I have plenty of thoughts about it, but maybe you could email me?

zhinkadinkadoo said...

How distressing, Heidi. I'm way less experienced than you in the mama department, so I don't know that I can help any. I would hug her more, perhaps cut back temporarily on extra-curriculars a bit to give her more breathing room, and gently see if over time she'll give you more details on why she feels so strongly and negatively about school. I think talking with the teacher and/or principal is a great idea too. But if you say the teacher is yelling a lot, that didn't sound so good. I might be afraid that if I talked with the teacher, it might make things worse, if the teacher isn't dealing with the class well. Isn't that what yelling means? If that's the case, I might talk with the principal instead.

Good luck, I know you'll find the right thing to do for your little girl. I'll be thinking of you.

miss chris said...

I'm so sorry. My oldest is 11 and -- WOW -- it's hard. Girls are mean. Boys are weird and terrible teasers. Feelings are touchy. Teachers are not always perfect. Mine has had teachers I LOVE and others that make me scratch my head sometimes. But by far our biggest issue has been peers. I think you have already gotten some great advice, and yes, you should talk with someone at school... and maybe *another* teacher or instructor or librarian (or???) that might know her well enough to notice something? (My daughter knows the health clerk well because of her asthma.)

I am so sorry to hear this. She sounds like a very bright, motivated and sensitive little girl. I hope you can help her sort this out.

Hugs, honey. I know you need them too! XO Chris

kirsten said...

ugh. why can't things be easy, right? i agree with anna - this kind of behavior is definitely the kind to take seriously. also with whoever said that maybe she could write down the problem? or talk to someone else? you almost need a little more specifics before you start in on the school, i think. she doesn't feel that way about dance or anything? what would she do if she was offered to drop that class i wonder? (i know she probably can't, but she could maybe switch, or maybe just talking about it could narrow down if it's that particular class/teacher that's a problem).

good luck, heidi. you'll figure it out - because you have to, you're the mom, right?
give her extra hugs. and cookies.

Hip Mama Crafts said...

Heidi,
I am sorry I can't help you... I am very far from that situation right now. But if you need to talk, vent, whatever- I'm here!

Alicia A. said...

All the advice above sounds good to me, Heidi. Sounds like something is going on. I'm thinking about her, poor little thing. Hugs to you BOTH.

house on hill road said...

Heidi - all of my ideas have been mentioned already. I am so sorry that she is going through this. Hugs to both of you.

Chara Michele said...

Heidi, I don't have much to offer as far as advice, but I definitely think it is good that you are trying to get to the bottom of this... Hope you are able to figure out what is going on.

lera said...

Yikes. I don't know what to say.

Can you ask her friends (or friends' mothers) how she acts at school? If she seems happy once she's there or still gloomy and sad? If she is fine at school, maybe it's just the thought of leaving.

I remember getting a little like that in 3rd (?) grade. I didn't have any issues at school. I just wanted to be with my mother and little siblings. I don't know why. For me it was just a phase. It didn't last long.

Good luck.

kimberly said...

I would echo all of the suggestions of talking to the teacher! either the teacher is the problem, or isn't.
1. if she isn't, this is the kind of thing I would really love to help out with as a teacher. most of us love the kids enough to get to know them, and really can give a lot of good insight.
2. if she is, then you've covered your own ass and will have a lot more leverage in dealing with it. if she's not a good teacher and part of the problem you'll probably be able to tell right away and know more how to approach it with abby.
teachers are all so different, it's hard to have a fix-all for everyone, so you'll be able to relate to abby a lot more once you have both sides. (or maybe at least one?)

and I'll pray.

Thriftin and Craftin said...

Here's my two cents. I have a 12 yo and a 10 yo, one boy, one girl. They are both amazing students and VERY sensitive gentle souls. Every year I request a teacher that isn't "too abrasive" I know my kids would shut down, and not do well. They don't do well in high stress environments. If you feel it would make a difference, schedule a meeting with the teacher. My son was intimidated by his teacher last year, and we did that with him there. He and the teacher talked things through and he ended up loving her. However, maybe your dd's teacher just has an aggressive personality, and a leopard doesn't change his or her spots. It sounds like your dd is traumatized every day, and there's A LOT of school left to go to be upset every day. I'd meet with the principal, and say that it isn't a good fit for your daughter, and she needs to be put into a different class. Stand your ground because they don't like to change them, but it sounds like it HAS to be done for your dd's sake. I pray this gets resolved quickly, and I'll keep your dd in my thoughts and prayers. Kids need us to be their voice, and I know she must be so sad. My son would have a meltdown if he had a teacher like that. I KNOW he'd have to be transferred to save his sanity. BIG HUG! Thank you for the kind words on my blog. I really appreciate it!

randi---i have to say said...

Hello Heidi,

I would definitely have a talk with the teacher. I also like Lera's advice to ask around and see if anyone else notices something amiss.

Am I reading correctly when you mention the teacher is yelling a lot lately? If the teacher is having some personal problems of her own, they may be spilling over into the class room and your daughter, who is very sensitive, may be picking up on some of this. Maybe the teacher needs to be "confronted" on this. I don't think that is OK behaviour in a classroom of young children.

(((HUGS))) to you and some prayers sent your way today. I will be thinking about you and your girl!

Mirre said...

What an awful situation... you must be so worried!
I wouldn't know what advice to give you... have you tried talking to her teacher yet?
Good luck with this!

jessi said...

I don't have much wisdom to impart, but it sounds like you have done everything you can with just her and it's definitely time to talk to the other adults involved. I wish you all the best and will definitely be sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

mushroommeadows said...

Oh man! I'm so, so, so sorry. What a heart-breaking situation! Junior high is really tough. I was a junior high teacher, and you need so much patience to teach at that level. Your daughter's teacher probably is just having a bad year (giving him/her the benefit of the doubt) or maybe the teacher is just a bad teacher (it happens). My best advice to you is to talk to the teacher. He/she probably doesn't even realize what's happening. If he/she did, maybe he/she would be more sensitive to your daughter. Sometimes a teacher will yell because it is effective for some junior high students, and perhaps this teacher uses this method to reach his/her class and your daughter doesn't know how to cope with it. Praying for you!

clara said...

So much wise sharing here! I pray that you will be able to find the cause for the change in behavior.

Alice said...

Something you said struck a chord with me. In 7th grade, one of my teachers was a big yeller. And not only did he yell but he used to slam his wooden paddle down on his desktop to punctuate his words. I can remember getting sick to my stomach every day before going to his class.

I wonder if it would be possible for you to sit in on one of the teacher's classes. You're a good mom, Heidi, and doing your job to protect your daughter.

laeroport said...

Is it possible to volunteer in the classroom in the background so that you can see firsthand what is going on?
So hard! I wish I had some great advice, but all I can send along is hugs and a listening ear.
Good luck!

XO :) said...

Heidi-
Not much new info I can give. But having an education background, I would really encourage you to ask to meet with all of her teachers. I know that when a group of teachers who all have the same student get together, some things that aren't known to all are discovered. For instance, maybe it's only in Mrs. X's class where she does a certain behavior. That might help you to isolate the problem. But also know that the answer might not be found in the classroom, but that it "shows" itself there.

I hope this helps. You are both in my thoughts and prayers. Call me or come on over if you just want to chat or vent!

Erin said...

Oh Heidi I am so sad to hear about your daughter. How upsetting. We are going through a similar situation with our 9 year old daughter. I will email you later tonight and tell you about our situation and what we have done and what we are doing but in a nut shell...you are your daughters advocate. Talk to the teacher and if that doesn't work talk to the principal and get the school counsellor involved. Also not sure if you are the praying kind but I am reading an amazing book that has really been helping called "The Power of a Praying Parent" By Stormie Omartian and it has been so helpful.

For your daughter if she is having a hard time verbally expressing herself suggest that she write in a journal to get her feelings out. If she chooses then she can let you read it. Danielle and I are doing this and it's working well!

Another good resource is a workbook called "Taming the Worry Dragon". I have a feeling this might only be available in Canada. But I can tell you about it later if you are interested.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter!

craftaddictconfessional said...

Heidi, I'm sending lots of hugs and love to you and your sweetie. You've gotten lots of advice, including what I what have suggested, so I won't repeat it. I would also say, though, that it could be hormonal, if you know what I mean. In addition to perhaps a specific trigger or incident at school.

Heidi said...

I have no wisdom except to say that it's wise to reach out to others for help. I will keep your daughter in my prayers, though.

Ragged Roses said...

Oh I know exactly how you're feeling. My eldest daughter was in floods of tears last night about something that happened at school and we were talking it over for hours, it is so upsetting. I know that when she was about eleven that she was full of hormones and was very clingy and emotional. If I were in your place I would go in for a quiet talk with the teacher without your daughter being around. Good luck with it, hope things improve for you all
Kimx