Sunday, February 15, 2009

Soccer Boy's situation improves

(If you confessed recent writing slackness, check the comment thread below for some Koala Punishments)

We had a meeting with Soccer Boy's teacher last week and I think things are getting back on track.

We have to meet all his teachers to rattle through his health issues, a meeting complicated and lengthened this year by a move to using a keyboard in the classroom. Once we had done that we moved tactfully on to the stress/classroom confidence. The teacher admitted, although not in so many words, that he had only that week achieved an understanding of Soccer Boy and his needs - mental as well as physical. In fact, specifically on the Tuesday of that week (!) he had noted what made Soccer Boy confident and happy, and what bemuses him - and provided practical examples to us to demonstrate! He is going to be working on those things with SB - encouraging his classroom participation through success and checking that he and another boy, who appears bemused by the same things, understand what they are doing.

We left the room feeling much more positive about the teacher, and not in a 'smoothed over' kind of a way. Once he understood what poor old SB was dealing with on a daily basis he became very proactive with his suggestions of support and called me in this morning to discuss what he'd researched and discovered over the weekend. SB can expect a lot of computer support with his keyboard and we will decide together whether or not he is ready to sit the 'compulsory' writing exam this year, or whether, for his own sake, he would be better applying for an exemption.

The whole thing went, and is now going, much better than we expected. However, while Soccer Boy seems to be settling, in that we have far fewer tanties and he comes out of the classroom with a smile, he still says he dislikes the teacher. Unfortunately for the teacher, he can encourage SB as much as he wants, but it will take a long time for SB to overcome the horror of those first couple of weeks. Poor old soul. SB, I mean.

On the happy side of life, soccer trials were yesterday and SB went like a dream and it looks like he'll get on a good team this year. He had four eight-minute matches and after the first two was jumped up into the top group, yippee. He loved three of the matches, the fourth astounded him by its roughness: 'they hurt me four times in eight minutes. In eight minutes, Mum. How can they do that?'

Is my son a softy?!


Sarah Laurenson said...

Is your son a Scorpio by any chance? I have a high tolerance for pain, but I feel any pain intensely. I'm told this is a Scorpio trait.

Glad to hear things are working out in school. SB may never like the guy, but he may learn the valuable lesson that you can work with someone you don't like. He also may learn to forgive him eventually (if the guy proves worthy of forgiveness).

It really is heartening that this guy realized what was going on and moderated his bullying into something helpful instead. Might be his M.O. and also might be why he has ex-students who love him.

J.C. Montgomery said...

I too am thrilled to read about such a happy outcome to your dilemma. Especially, as Sarah noted, how much effort the teacher made to not only understand, but do something about it - to go the extra mile of doing research on his own time.

As for sports. I wouldn't call my son a softie, but he plays basketball as it gets rough, but not like american football or the sport I play, ice hockey.

He is a pretty tough kid. He never once cried when he got a shot or when he got stitches. In fact, he wanted a mirror so he could watch them sew him up. But body slamming and elbow throwing on the field or court....uh no. Not into it.

So, I wouldn't worry too much. For one, he may not be used to the physicality and will adjust and hold his own with the others, and two, I'm hoping the refs in that league will not feel too encumbered when reaching for that yellow or red card when its called for.

Thanks for sharing the good news. Keep us posted!

pjd said...

Not necessarily a softie. Just not used to the contact. I haven't followed his career... is he a better, faster player than he's used to playing against? I've seen a lot of fast kids simply be able to avoid the clumsy, slow attempts at physicality from lesser players. But at a higher level, physical players can get their knocks in. It'll be something he has to come to grips with. I had a top-notch player on my son's team this past year, and although he was not soft by any means, he had never played against opponents who could actually catch him in time to hurt him. One game we played against such a team, and this boy had a hard time dealing with it. The real problem, though, was that the opposing coaches were telling their boys to play overly physical... I assume they didn't realize that 9 year olds can't tell the difference between "physical" and "dirty."

Very glad to hear the teacher is exceeding expectations. Hopefully SB can come to grips with that soon as well.

JaneyV said...

That is good news. Teach has obviously learnt that one size just doesn't fit all when it comes to kids. It's really encouraging that he's now going the extra mile to reach SB. I had plenty of teachers I didn't much like but who I came to realise had good intentions and who certainly got the best out of me. As long as SB isn't feeling anxious, his confidence will improve and he'll settle in. Teach is going have to work at gaining his trust (not trusting easily, particularly if let down - also a Scorpio thing - or is it just a human thing?)

And as for being a softie? Nah! He obviously just understands that the objective of the game is to score goals. My son also gets very annoyed if other kids get rough. The thing is that it would never occur to him to play that way so he doesn't understand the motivation. The injustice of it hurts him more I think.

So glad things are smilier in the McKoala house.

Chris Eldin said...

I'm soooo happy to hear this news. It makes all the difference in the world to a child. Self confidence is very, very important.

Mckoala, I'm sorry to copy and paste this here...


I wanted to ask you if you could take a moment and send me an email at my new email address:

(You don’t have to write anything, I just want your email address for my new contact list, if that’s okay).
The hotmail server where I am has been locked up for over a week, and I can’t access my contact list. I’m sorry I’m posting this on your blog. And I’m also sorry this is a copy and paste letter. Will be back around….
Thanks!! And if you can’t, no worries!

fairyhedgehog said...

I'm glad the teacher is realising what's needed. It's no fun working with a teacher you don't like but at least SB should have a better year than it looked like he'd be getting.

I've never understood why disliking pain is considered soft. I think it's normal.

Bevie said...

Very happy to hear things have improved significantly for Soccer Boy.

Sarah's right: Soccer Boy may never like the teacher. Hopefully, he will eventually let all negative feelings go. It won't do him any good to hang on to those.

Fairy's right: Disliking pain is not being soft. From your description I gather that Soccer Boy stayed in the game and played despite not liking what was going on. To me, that's being tough, not soft.

Robin S. said...

Soccer Boy's not a softie. He's a realist. And he's probably not a Catholic raise in the 1960's, to believe pain and tribulation is somehow what you deserve even when you're a little kid.

So go, Soccer Boy! I admire your realistic attitude. Pain sucks.

As to the teacher, I'd still watch him, and I wouldn't expect Soccer Boy's heart to be all aflutter because Clown-Teacher-Boy-Who-Is-A-Fifty-Year-Old-Man-and-Thus-Should Have-Long-Ago-Learned - Each Child Is A Unique Person, has finally picked up on the fact that Soccer Boy wasn't cut from a cookie cutter mold. Once you've hurt someone, actually injured their psyche, and the HurtER is an adult and a person in a position of control, you can't expect the young HurtEE to be all smiles for a while. Screw the teacher. He owes SB, and he should not be commended for finally realizing he's been a fool.

That said (and meant), it sounds like moving forward Socct Boy is going to be all right this school year, and that's a relief! Because people talk about school year's like they're a dime a dozen, but after all, this is a year of Soccer Boy's life we're talking about.

Yeah. I'm still angry for the little guy.

McKoala said...

Sarah - he's 3 December - sagitarrious? How do you spell it?! You can see how much attention I pay to horoscopes... Yes, I was heartened by our meeting and I'm thinking he may even turn out to be a good teacher for SB, who is ready for the challenging work - as long as he understands the instructions.

JC, like your son, SB is relatively brave about shots, unlike Princess who is showing signs of being phobic.

I think PJD, you've got it in a nutshell - he hasn't been playing at his level. He can run/dribble himself out of trouble with ease, but at his own level there will be more challenges. It will only make him a better player, but the first few weeks could be tough on him.

That's partly because, as Janey says, he has a strong sense of justice. He's pretty accurate in his ball skills, plus he's been taught not to hurt others, so he doesn't understand why others would do it to him - why is it necessary to kick a leg when the ball is right there? Big shinpads might help!

Will do, Chris.

Agreed, FH. I hate pain too!

And thanks, Bevie. Yes, he played to the end. You should have seen the expression on his face, though!

I know Robin. I so wish those first few weeks hadn't happened. It's hard on a class to go in with all guns blazing - yes it works, in a way - the troublemakers have already sussed out that they need to behave - but the more sensitive kids like SB and a couple of his friends have suffered for it, so the teacher has a lot of ground to make up there. However, a small plus, I suppose, is that one of the troublemakers is a good friend of SBs, who he sits next to. They actually work well as a team, both as friends and study partners - the friend supplements SB's confidence and SB supplements his friend's thoughtfulness. Said friend was about to be moved to the Seat In Front of The Teacher, but he's finally learnt his lesson and is behaving properly, to SB's delight. This is actually the first teacher to manage to calm this boy down - so that's kind of a plus for SB - he keeps his friend next to him AND his friend behaves.

Overall - huge relief that the year looks a lot better than it did a couple of weeks ago.

Footnote...however SB is going to cop it today - he left his maths homework book at home!

laughingwolf said...

not a softy in the least, just wants games consisting of skill, not bullying...

sylvia said...

WHAT a relief to be working with the teacher - I know that one well. SB must also feel relieved, even if he's not convinced.

I've been REALLY GOOD this week please take me down from threat high because I have been sleeping under the bed all week and it's cold down there.

I wrote 464 words (on the wrong story) on monday and 371 words (on the wrong story) on tuesday and I wrote 692 words about Domnall's todger today.

So that's good, right?

McKoala said...

That's good, you get a step up, but I'm worried about your subject matter...

sylvia said...

Me too!