Wifey told me she had a story to tell me after I got home. So when the kids weren't listening too closely, I asked her what was up.
Wifey had attended a Thanksgiving lunch at the Girl's school. One of the Moms she's friends with said that her girl had come crying to her at home the previous night because she was upset at what she heard in class. The back story is that in one of the 1st grade classes this year, there is a new boy. He is Chinese, recently adopted, and does not speak any English. He was trying to get a point across, got frustrated and may have done some pushing or throwing of things because he was frustrated (the Boy sometimes still does this, but it's reducing because of the improvements with speech therapy).
The Boy was separated by being placed in another 1st grade class for the rest of the day. The teacher talked to the kids in his original class and was trying to educate them on what to do when kids get frustrated with you in the future.
Now this is where it might be a little hazy. You have to remember this is an upset 6 year old recounting to her Mom what she thinks she heard.
She thinks she heard the teacher say, "Now next time [Chinese boy] gets frustrated and acts up, we shouldn't get upset, we should laugh at him."
I was wondering, would a teacher at this very politically correct, Blue Ribbon school say that?
Or did she say, "Now next time [Chinese boy] gets frustrated and acts up, we shouldn't get upset, we should laugh at the situation." ?
It's hard to say because, of course, I'm hearing it 4th hand.
And then Wifey said, "I can't believe that they (parents) just put a kid who doesn't speak any English into a first grade class like that! That's gotta be so frustrating for him!"
I said, "Well, ummmm, I came over when I was 4 years old without knowing any English and I started in Kindergarten. I turned out okay."
She replied, "That's different. Those were the old days."
I'm not sure if I've blogged about this in the past, but one of her brothers is deaf. He's the 50+ year old man-child who still asks Mommy for money. When I was dating Wifey, she described him as one who always has his hand out for a handout. She said that when he was in 6th-8th grade, he went off to boarding school at their state's School for the Deaf. At the time we were dating, she told me, "And that really messed him up. They taught him that the world OWED him things; that he was disabled and deserved a leg up and help from the world." She said that when he came back, he was a different person.
But of course, as we know, philosophies and social worker trends keep changing. When he got to high school age, it suddenly became the thing to "mainstream" deaf kids. So, he came back to his family and town and started high school. He didn't do well, and dropped out when he was 16 and has been a "gentle bum" since then. Seriously, he always finds sympathetic girlfriends to leech from.
And so as we were talking about this Chinese Boy being mainstreamed I asked, "Well what are the parents supposed to do? Keep him at home until he learns enough English?" Wifey shrugged. She felt sorry for the kid, but she didn't know what his parents could have done different. We have lots of English-Spanish schools here in the South, but of course on English-Chinese schools.
And then, you're reading the blog of a 4 year old boy who was dumped into the deep end of the Great American Melting Pot, and I find no problem whatsoever if this boy's mainstreaming.
But just as trends change, last night when I asked Wifey about her brother and the deaf school, I asked her if she thought it was good or bad that he was mainstreamed. She said, "Oh no, he should have stayed at that school."
Me personally? I don't remember much of kindergarten and 1st grade. We say that kids are resilient, and that's the way this little guy is going to have to adjust - in the deep end.
But as I'm typing this up, I realize that Wifey didn't take into account the Boy, our son. When we got him, he was 27 months, walking, with all his teeth. We get home, she spends 1 month of bonding time with him, then it's off to daycare where he didn't know anyone and didn't speak English.
Somehow, Wifey doesn't view that as mainstreaming. Gonna have to point that out to her tonight.
[typed up with no proofreading - you gotta take what you can get folks]