J isn't in love with school these days. I think he enjoys parts of it, but overall, school --and homework -- just gets in the way of his free time. I don't think this feeling is atypical of 11-year-old boys. But it's becoming somewhat of an issue.
Last week, I received two emails on the same day (one from each of his two main teachers) about things that he wasn't doing. He didn't finish an assignment. He didn't do an assignment. He did poorly on a test. He isn't trying. He isn't showing effort. And so on.
So A and I talked with him very seriously about it. We took away video games during the week, to reduce distractions. We told him to make sure to write down all his assignments, not just some of them. And we are checking more to make sure he does what he needs to do.
But in addition to the things that he is and isn't doing, I think the teachers are pretty cranky, as well. I know that some of the 5th graders are very silly, and I'm sure it's hard to teach when kids are laughing and joking all the time. Apparently yesterday J and a friend were sent out of class for laughing. They met with an administrator, who not only chastised them for their behavior, but also chastised J for not being as good a student as his friend. It took J a while to tell me this story, but he finally did, and he cried. "My grades should just be between me, my teacher, and my parents! He shouldn't have told my friend." He was right.
We dealt with it, and the administrator has apologized, but I'm still left feeling...sad. I want J to feel empowered in school. I want him to feel good about school. He actually is a smart kid, very insightful, intelligent. His writing skills are excellent. His math skills are better than mine. His Hebrew is much better than mine was at his age. But his teachers are focusing on his deficits more than on his strengths, and it's wearing him down. It's wearing me down, too.