One Terrible school. Part 1

Hi friends ,

For all those of you’ll who have been following my posts regularly, I know I have been somewhat on and off these past few months. . . . . ! Well all for some valid reasons … If you know me well, you know how I have been struggling hard to get the boys out their present school.

 It has’nt been easy, especially since they have both got grade As and Bs in their mid terms and most unfortunetly flunked their assesment test in another British curriculum school, just weeks later  !!!

Not only is it a set back but it really has me thinking, what exactly are the school’s  standards when compared to others !! I know, it was unreasonable of the other school to take a full year’s  exam when the boys had only completed half the year ! Inspite of getting this to their notice, any concessions made ? None !! Infact they did not even have the courtesy to tell me Sugar’s grades !! Makes me wonder, its probably better this way !!

So here we are, struggling to find a good school for the boys…

The question is,

will I have to move them from an American System to a British curriculum ?

Will I have to move them from an American system To an IB, International Baccalaurete ??  In which case they both would loose one year.  The IB is very stringent about age limit and regardless of student skills or aptitude stick to their age limits.

Mo’s mother is equally distressed. Her son has been called names, harassed, pushed, beaten up, and terribly abused. It has been devastating for that little boy of 10. His mother has seen his self esteem just detoriate.  The only silver lining in all this, is that Sugar has been standing up for Mo. Everytime, Bully G,A,K A have tried to hit Mo, Sugar  has interviened and rescued him. I always thought it was the blind leading the blind with Sugar and Mo, but I have realized something good eventually came out of it. Sugar learned to protect and defend.

Last PE Class he returned with pain in his loins, upon alot of probing, he admitted that during football, he was playing in defence position and bully K, took full advantage of his position and kept hitting the ball on sugar’s wee wee !! All to the amusement of his friends, the “understanding ” coach asked sugar to ” be a man”  and face it out !!  No breaks .. No water .. No time to grieve his pain ….. how comforting !!

Yesterday, He was so happy when I picked him.  Health teacher who teaches them alot about ethics too, had given them a free period in class, the kids played a game about naming what they’d want to be when they grew, and whom they’d marry etc amongst many other things … Sugar was overjoyed to know that his favorite health teacher joked that he’d marry his science teacher, (who also is his favorite teacher). We both laughed and I was so pleased to know that somehow Sugar felt alittle accepted in class this time. It was a shortlived feeling.

When I asked what Sugar had said in the game, he said, “Nah, we were not allowed to play the game. They said Mo, and I were not allowed to play.”

Unbelievable ! This happens with a teacher sitting in the class !! What happened to team spirit if nothing else ?? I could see hurt in Sugar. But he put up a very brave front for me. After the last encounter with the principal, where the principal mistreated Sugar and me,  Sugar avoids telling me things like these. He doesn’t want me to be embarrassed becoz of what happens to him.  Its such a difficult situation. We have complained so many times about Bully K,A1,G,A2 to the principal but in all honesty, it fell on deaf years.  The principal is committed to the parents of these people for obvious reasons.

Being called ‘Hindia” meaning Indian in arabic, is just one of the smallest ways they harass him and kicking him on his wee wee and punching him against the wall are the larger ones.

Why do they bully him ? Well, becoz he wears glasses, gets good grade, is an indian, is on the plump side (which they too are) and most importantly becoz he takes it. What has my son done to deserve this ??? Every teacher is all but praise for him. He eats alone or with Mo. He is always smiling. He doesnt speak without a please, thank you, excuse me ………….. and yet I have made such a huge blunder in letting him stay in this wretched school.      

The teacher who had influenced us into admitting the boys here was actually sacked this January !! She actually went to the ministry with the unethical and irresponsible incidents happening on a regular basis in the school, and they found a way to actually get to her.  And they succeeded. She’s thrown out which is unfortunate. She was a good teacher * not that it matters to the school.

Two months back a student wrote in 7days newspaper, in the letter to editor that the KHDA inspection was really not correct, becoz everything in the schools were just put up for showing a shinning example to the Inspection board and after the inspection things went right back to the usual rotten self. 

If only I too had written and supported that guy.  This school had hired a student counselor and asked him to stay on just till the inspection date was over !!!  I have been putting up sugar’s case all to often and have had alot of sand thrown on my face inspite of having relevant proof … I know the only solution would be to have them move to a better school. which hopefully does not “only” market itself but also delivers.

My ordeal is very much real – shortlisting schools with jumbo size fees is not all so easy. Good education comes at a high price but we are paying a very dear price for having our young children bruised and abused all becoz we made just a few compromises  !!

Just in case, your wondering what bullying :

Bullying is an anti-social behaviour that affects everyone. It is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. It is defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. The three main types of bullying are physical (hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (name calling, racist remarks) and indirect (spreading rumours, exclusion from social groups). All children must be encouraged to report bullying. This policy is designed to ensure that a school is alerted to the signs of bullying and act promptly and firmly against it.

I have a long way to go and I am going to continue to support my boys and keep fighting for getting them the respect they so rightly deserve.

Oh and just in case there are any moms out there who are curious to know just what all has happened to my boys all these months …. do write to me and I’ll write back with a full description.

One day in my son’s classroom.

Bilal’s new class teacher had requested me to help her out for the Science fair coming up in a couple of weeks so I was glad that this may be a good opportunity to get to know his teacher and his friends.

Ms C  is probably the best thing that happened to the school. She’s terrific and coming from me, thats something.  Unfortunetly after 5 school changes, my experience with teachers has not been a very good one. But that I will leave for a later post.

Coming back to the school projects, there were three projects and my “expertise” was only needed for the bulletine board, which was relatively easy. The labels were computer printed, trimmed by the students, laminated and hopefully I will have them framed on the bb on my next visit next monday. 

The three projects included a Volcano, an underwater Volcano and a plant being influenced to classical music.

There are  three groups. The boys did the volcano naturally. The boys drew a picture of the volcano and I almost cried to see the shape. I bet my french neigbour’s  nursery-going- little daughter Romane could do a better drawing. I gave the class a small description and drawing of what the volcano should look like and asked them to do one which they felt good-with, also adding  some elements in.  The boys did well, relatively.  Bilal amazed me as usual. He really is in another league all together.

I got the first group of the girls to do a crayon water resist painting of the underwater scene. The girls were trying it for the first time which I was surprised about ! I mean, these are  fifth graders !!  They should have had more experience with water colors.  

The second group of girls did a drawing of the potted plant. we cut out the outline of the drawing after it was done and later pasted it on a contrasting colored sheet. We made a frame of it, after the girls wrote their names on it.  And now all the three projects are ready for being pasted on the  bb.

If you think all is done .. think again. We have to first have all the writing material, research stuff writen out then that has to be decided how and where will we place all the drawings and the write ups.  And finally tying all the ends of both the arms of the bb. It wont be a snap-out project but I think I completely enjoyed myself living back to my days teaching in school.

I will be visiting the class on Monday to finally complete the three bb’s.

Some observations : 

As a Art and Craft teacher, experience has taught me that children in art class, tend to become more relaxed and noisy. They get pepped up so  much so that they almost become unruly.  I knew I should expect the boys to be naughty here too , but these boys were realy running out of control ! I mean foul language and ill behaviour.

Ms C    has recently joined the class as class teacher and so I know she is doing a very good job at keeping the boys out of trouble and involved with studies.  Infact I have really seen behavioural improvements in one or two children.

She really does go out of her way to encourage the students and get them motivated.

The girls as expected, move around in twos, threes or fours.  Unfortunetly between mood swings and girlie talks, there’s really no creative spark I could see in anyone of them.

One important observation I made is that :

Bilal doesnt fit in anywhere here. Definetly not with the boys and surely not the girls.

This lost chap hangs around close to the wall, and just observes everybody with a smile on his face as though he is somehow a part of their group and is enjoying them.

It breaks my heart.

The other day he said, ” Mom, am I a virus ?”

When I probed him, he said, that when the teacher decided to make groups for the project, each group shoved him away asking him to join the other group. Nobody wanted  him in their group.

It is a very difficult thing for a mother to face such a situation without getting emotional. But I have been thru exactly similar situations and I knew for years there was no one to whom I could talk to and explain how I felt, atleast my son could talk to me.  I told him the one thing that had really sparked me long ago.

 ” You”re a league apart ” 

What mattered more ? that my son was not knocking other kids with his fists and knee ? that he was not using F’s and B’s constantly ? that he was not poking fun at others ? that he was being polite and courteous ? that he was soft spoken and sharing his stationery even when nobody was returning it ? there was one child who even used Bilal’s water bottle to kick it around as a football.  

I know “bully” when I see it.

In the end Ms C who had taken two girl students to the principals office and later, two boy  students to the principals office, said to me what havoc the class can play some times ! I agreed.

She said she encourages Bilal to join the other boys. But although he would want to join them, something holds him back. Probably he fears he doesnt want to “become” like them.

“I am glad he is not like them”.  

I just trust everything in Ms C’s hands and left, hoping and praying. 

bilal is standing by the window on the right end.

bilal is standing by the window on the right end.

wandering around in class, bilal in the left end

wandering around in class, bilal in the left end

Just wanting acceptance.

Just wanting acceptance.