Tuesday, May 16, 2006

We've withdrawn Katherine from AISL

Withdrawing Katherine from school is for the best for her. It will seem silly to some, to pull her now with only 4 weeks of school left. But her teacher had already told me that in his class the last few weeks of the year is geared to fun and games. Katherine is left out of games, which is no fun.

She didn't feel she could talk to her teacher and she was too often bored in class, she felt very uncomfortable with her French teacher, she adamantly disliked her P.E. teacher, and she was ostracized by her classmates. Looking through our journal from the past 9 months, we should have pulled her out over the Christmas break. But we didn't, always waiting for things to get better, for that silver lining to show up. Meanwhile we spoke with her teachers and brought our troubles to the Director. The situation did not improve and we waited long enough, so she's home now. Yes, there is an isolation problem. It's another reason we waited so long to pull her, we figured being in school even with all its problems was better than being at home with no outlets, no kids, no change at all. Unfortunately, it simply became too detrimental to her to leave her where she was. Three major meltdowns in two weeks is uncommon, even for Ms. Emotional.
The biggest calalyst towards this decision was when, two weeks ago, Katherine was having an extremely difficult time in school. She burst into tears that Sunday evening, and finally spilled what had been bugging her. The other girl in her class took Katherine aside to let her know "No one likes you in the class because they think you're bossy, like your dad."
The trickle down effect in action.
We've always told our kids that school isn't always easy. Personalities clash. Work is too hard or too easy sometimes. Teachers are all different. It's a part of life learning to deal with these things, with parent involvement when needed.
We didn't before and we do not now believe that our kids should have to suffer for the decisions we make and what we are involved in. There is quite a bit of bad blood floating around the school about our and the Embassy's involvement with pulling the State Department grant from AISL and about the high visa refusal rate for AISL high school "graduates" (some of these "graduates" are in their 20s, having barely completed 9th grade correspondance high school classes). But when adults decide to share their problems and frustrations with their children or classmates... and those children share the problems with siblings... and those siblings take it out on our daughter...
Aside from calling a town hall meeting and telling everyone to knock it off, what can you do? A small school can breed indifference and animosity, just as easily as it can provide opportunities for growth, tolerance and understanding.
Unfortunatly for us, we didn't find ourselves in the latter.

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