Friday, September 3, 2010

When Elephants Fight

As part of a parenting course Tim and I participated in, we watched a few videos of lectures by Rick LaVoie, who is a special education expert. (I HIGHLY recommend watching his lectures, by the way, even if your child does not have learning disabilities. F.A.T. city was especially enlightening.) He ran a school for children with learning disabilities. On the wall of the room where they held the IEP meetings, he had painted, "When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled." Meaning, when adults fight the kids lose.

"When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled" has been my mantra since school began. Things have happened that have made my blood boil. We looked at pulling Alice out. Tim and I are both strong believers in public school; the things that went on in the first two weeks of school seriously shook that belief. To say that things were (are) tense is an understatement. Tensions have been so bad between the parents and administrators that there has been an armed police officer on duty since the middle of the first week of school because the teachers and staff felt threatened.

My tactic has been to kill them with kindness. There have been several times where I've really wanted to go in and yell and scream at *someone.* Then I stop and think, "When elephants fight the grass gets trampled. There has to be a better way." I have made friends with everyone I can possibly make friends with: the crossing guard, the secretary, her teacher, other teachers, the armed police officer... I have also been in there volunteering about 12 hours a week since school started, primarily because it was the only way I felt okay about sending her to school. I'm doing room mother type things, but not in the classroom. I really like the ladies in the work room and it is satisfying to be able to go in, work for awhile and actually SEE what I've accomplished. I plan to continue volunteering all year simply because I enjoy it.

Now, three weeks into the school year, I'm cautiously optimistic that things are going to be okay. Knock on wood.

1 comment:

echo said...

Wonderful metaphor!

I am so thrilled to read a more positive update, hope things continue to trend on the up and up!