Thursday, November 29, 2007

I’ll sue you!

Marc was struggling with his French homework. I went to see the French directrice to say that Marc was not able to read the French book and do the review because he had so much American homework. I also felt he was being ‘punished’ and that reading should be a pleasure, especially since he had hours of American homework. Not so, she replied. Marc’s teacher tells with me that he is lazy and this is normal in America. The teacher had said that Marc had obviously never really worked before in Kuala Lumpur. (This stunned me and I had no idea what to say to her)

‘You were warned’ she reminded me and showed me a letter about the school that she had faxed to Jacques. It said, in French, that parents must be prepared to support their child at home too. I had seen that as been positive towards French, having French books, dvd’s etc. in the home and helping with the homework, but not doing it, surely.

The directrice ended the discussion with the message ‘Get a tutor if you can’t cope!’ A tutor? Pay 20 $ an hour for extra help after we were already paying 3,000 a year for EFAC! Never! Plus I was a trained teacher myself, surely I could help my own children? I wasn’t even working and yet still it was just TOO MUCH!

A few days later Marc came to talk to Jacques and me in private. Marc was unusually worried. It appeared that the teacher had been insulting him, and his previous ‘lazy’ school in front of the other kids. The teacher had made some threatening remarks too. Jacques was on the case immediately, like a ton of bricks, writing a formal ‘I’ll sue you if you touch or verbally insult my son…’ letter, and making an appointment to see the directrice for the next day. The directrice listened, talked to the teacher, who denied it all, and the matter was put aside. Marc reported that the teacher had stopped picking on him.

We felt a mixture of sadness that the bilingual school, that seemed so good on paper, was turning out so bad, and anger that the teacher was belittling our son. I won’t dispute that Marc has a lazy day-dreaming side, as do many kids, but he is bright and interested. The worst aspect was that he had no choice in which school he was sent to, so should he not be punished for our choices. We began truly thinking that we should move the children as soon as possible since both Marc and Nina would have the same teacher next school year....

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