Bass-ackwards blogger that I am, I title these things before I write 'em, based on what I think my topic will be. That is why my titles often don't match the content — such as it is — of my post.
But today's post is going to be pretty much all over the place; so first things first:
Read this here post (which has nothing to do with running, I should warn you), in which AQA Aleece goes all Aretha on yo' @$$ by asking for Just A Little Respect. I left a loooong, polemical comment on her post, but don't let that deter you from visiting her blog because when I tried to post my comment? Her fucking blog EATED IT!1! (To quote famous existentialist Philosopher JP Sartre: Le GAHHH!1!) So my original comment isn't there, but I may go back again at some point today and gin up my outrage, possibly using real gin, and recreate my comment.
Next. Today I ran 6.56 miles in 1:01:05 which is a 9:18 pace. I am okay with the slowness because, unlike yesterday, today I was once again running in the 5:00 a.m. darkness. So I'll take that pace.
Now the real post:
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, both Teh 'Bride and I took the morning off yesterday to meet with Ian's teachers. Ian's in fifth grade now and doing well (not to get all Proud Dad on you, but straight A's for the first two report cards this year!), but last year he was having a difficult time getting C's, forget about A's. We had various tests done and found out he had an auditory processing disorder. (I won't bore you with details; I already wrote about it here, if you want to know more about it.) Essentially, he hears background noise as foreground noise and has a hard time filtering it out when it comes time to concentrate. It's easy enough to surmise how this might impact his academic performance.
We worked together with Ian's teachers, guidance counselors, etc., both last year and this to address the problem and try to help him deal with it. Most of the solutions were quite simple — such as having him work in smaller groups when possible and having instructions read out loud to him to make sure he grasps them ... things of that sort. In fact, it took very little of that to turn Ian right around, to make him into the student he was always capable of being. He's not perfect — who is? — and it's still a bit of a struggle to get him to read anything but fishing magazines, but all-in-all? Teh 'Bride and I couldn't be happier with his transformation.
This is the boy who, when I'd pick him up from aftercare last year and ask how much of his homework he got done, would answer, "None. It was too loud." But this year? It's the rare Tuesday (Teh 'Bride's late night at the library, so the only day I pick Ian up) when he doesn't answer, "I got all of it done." Occasionally there are one or two items he needs my help with at home. But more often he's done it all himself — and done it correctly. He's learned strategies to help him concentrate in environments that used to be too awash in noise for him to deal with them effectively.
This is attributable, largely, to two factors, the first of which is Ian's own efforts.
But the second is the hard work of all the public school teachers and counselors and administrators who didn't abandon him, who took a beyond-the-call-of-the-job interest in seeing him reach his potential. We pay pretty high taxes in my part of Joisey; even before we had Ian, I never begrudged a cent of it that went to public education because I have always maintained that I have a vested interest in seeing that everyone in my community has a decent education, and that it is the government's job to offer it. I'll gladly pay for that. Without it, too many kids would go without what should be considered their right: An education that will prepare them to participate fully and fruitfully in our society.
I also don't mind paying those taxes because I always suspected, and now can testify firsthand to this fact, that the lion's share of that money went into the kids' education. We live two blocks from the school Ian attends; there are no Ferraris or luxury cars in the teachers' parking lot; these teachers aren't wearing designer clothes; as far as I know, they aren't snorting the best Colombian cocaine in the teachers' lounge during lunchtime, either.
They make middle-class, five-figure salaries. They work at home and on weekends, grading papers, coming up with lesson plans, trying to think of innovative ways to engage the kids, to make them learn and enjoy learning. (Ian typically has a writing assignment due every Friday; the boy who, last year, always wanted to wait till Thursday to do anything due on Friday, now insists on at least getting started on it no later than Tuesday. I am still amazed at this sea-change.)
The meeting Teh 'Bride and I had with Ian's teachers lasted roughly 45 minutes. It was very informative. Ian's teachers know him; they like him. We listened to what they had to say. Teh 'Bride took notes, as is her wont.
Teh 'Bride was quite capable of handling this meeting all by herself — much more so than I. In fact, I attended for two reasons only:
To demonstrate my interest in my son's education.
But more important, to thank these hard-working public servants for their role in helping my child to reach his potential. We simply could not have achieved this change in Ian without them — or without the teachers he had last year, as well. (Who, by the way, continue to take an interest in his development, even though Ian was at an entirely different school last year.)
And so that's what I did — I thanked them. Profusely.
It was important to me to let them know that, even though it is now quite fashionable for fat-cat pundits and corrupt and lazy politicians and mendacious media fucktards — all of whom do make millions of dollars a year — to attack public workers for daring to want to make a livable wage, there are still many of us actual middle class citizens who appreciate what our teachers do for us and for our children.
If you have had an experience similar to ours, please remember to thank a teacher.