My daughter, who recently turned eight and is in the third grade, has managed to have another reading level added to her list. She can now read three different levels of books in her class. Her teacher tested her at the beginning of the school year and she is now reading at a level of 4.1, which is equivalent to a fourth grader’s reading level—after just one month in school.
My daughter is in a charter school this year, after having been in public school for three years (kindergarten, first grade, and second grade). I decided to make the switch after an entire school year (nine months) of her being bullied and teased. Why an entire school year you may ask? Well, first of all, I work at the school where she used to attend. I’m a teacher’s aide—more specifically an English language learner instructional assistant. I teach all children, whether they are second language learners or not, how to read and/or read better. It’s an exhausting, yet very rewarding position to be in.
I had to walk a very fine line when it came to things such as my daughter telling me she was being teased and bullied. I never saw any evidence of it as I was fortunate enough in my job to have second grade recess duty and was able to watch her interact with her peers. I took it to the teacher for resolution, which is what any parent would do, but I cautioned the teacher that I was there as a parent and not as an employee.
Some of the issues were resolved immediately. The children were arranged in new seats in the classroom, and for the most part there were no further issues. That is, until one day, my daughter came at me sideways while at home about some injustice I had done her. That’s when I finally got to the bottom of what was going on at school. After talking with her, I got the names of the individuals who were bothering her, and took it directly to the assistant principal. The assistant principal immediately called a meeting with my daughter and the two offending children to see if it hashed out and they could shake hands and be friends.
It got resolved, but not without some further trouble from one of the two children who had started the whole thing. By the end of the school year, my mind was made up: No matter what, my daughter was no longer attending public school. I had less than three months to find another school for her.
I found a charter school in my town, talked to the front office manager, took a small tour, and decided this was the place for our daughter. Granted, she would be wearing a uniform, but at least no one there would be dressed any differently than she was. I assumed this would make the children less willing to fight and be bullies.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Within a month or so, Carli was being physically bullied by a classmate who was screaming at her and bending her fingers backward. There was another classmate who would push her while out on the playground, and a third child who would not leave her hair alone.
Well, I found out about all of this, and made sure I took the time to contact the principal to have this issue resolved. I even went so far as to take time off from my job to go see him, and bring the matter to his attention. He assured me he would relay the situation to her teacher, who had no idea this was going on.
The teacher spoke to the students and things have gotten better. Thank goodness—because I was getting to the point where I was feeling like I was going to have to pull her out and start all over again. There have been some minor incidents, but nothing like what had been going on in the past. Carli is now friends with the students, and she is enjoying school once again.