Last year I took a bit of grief because of my criticism of Donovan's teacher last year. I heard "give her a break" and lots of speeches about the pressures teachers are under and that I needed to lighten up. It was hard though. Everytime I talked to her she had a huge list of things that Donovan was fallign short on. I get the fact that there are area's that he certainly needed to work on but on the other hand it was just 1st grade, the *start* of his school life and that we needed to give him a chance to find his way.
It was also hard because every morning I was faced with a tearful 7 year old who didn't want to go to school. I sent him once when he was sick because I always heard I didn't feel good in the morning. It was hard to know what was real and what wasn't.
This year has been a complete 180. While he still has the ocassional day when he doesn't want to go it seems more a case of I'd rather play than work. We went to the first conference with butterflies worrying what the teacher was going to say. When we talked to her we were amazed at all the great things she had to say on how helpful, kind, polite, hard working, smart, quick and bright boy he was. She said by far he is the smartest kid in the class. He has aced spelling test after spelling test(he had nearly 7 in a row where he had them all right). He is now reading above grade level and most importantly seems really happy. It didn't seem like the same kid and I wondered how we could be talking about the same boy. When you copare 1st grade with 2nd it was really surprising.
This week we are home from school so it's a much slower pace. I"m not watching as much news, instead watching a lot of the olympic coverage I'm lucky to get from CBC in Canada(who's coverage has been excellent at begins at 8am daily). I heard a snippet of a news story of a teacher from the area being arrested for assult and battery. It involved her grabbing a student or something. I didn't catch if the teacher was in my district or just lived in that area or what the grade level that person taught.
I was schocked and amazed when I got a letter from the school distirct today to discover that not only did the incident happen in Donovan and G's school district, it aslo happened in *their* school, by Donovan's teacher last year. The letter doesnt' state what the incident was but just that the teacher has been suspeneded with pay until the distirct does a full investigation. They reminded us taht she has been a life long teacher and we should respect her privacy and that they will investigate it fully. It also states that she has been formally charged with Assult and Battery in District court. They also want us not to talk to the media and if approached we should refer them to the district spokesperson.
I did a google search and the incident is a bit more serious than I thought. She is accused of putting her hands on the throat of a 6 year old(yes, folks 6 years old) and pinning them to the wall. Now i should mention this teacher is not tiny. She is rather, um, large is the only way to put it. She's not fluffly or slightly overwieght but I would guess she is near 400lbs easy. I can see where that would really freak out a small 6 year old. Someone observed the incident(it doesn't say who in any of the news article I read) and was disturbed enough to call the police. She was arrested and charged.
See, so maybe I wasn't over reacting. I know there are two sides to a story, I understand the pressure of teacher and such but after dealing with her last year, I can totally see her doing this. Donovan often complained that she yelled a lot and had a tendancy to grab and pull on his arm. I'm sure he didn't hurt him but still it bugged me when he talked about her.
All I can say is I hope she retires or doesn't come back to the school. G will be in first grade next year and I already feared him getting her as a teacher. After our first meeting with her we tried to move teachers and were told no. I worried the same thign would happen again but hopefully not.