Is There School Tomorrow, Mom?

The following was written by an area mother.  It describes her second grader’s gradually hatred of school.

Is There School Tomorrow, Mom?

I am becoming increasingly frustrated, disillusioned, agitated and very sad at how much school has changed over the course of two years for our son. This is the child who in kindergarten received the “love of learning” award and “hard worker” award. He came home almost daily and insisted on working on his sight words, spelling words and drawing pictures. I begged him to watch T.V. if even for 15 minutes or play on his iPad for 15 minutes, but nope, he wanted to “practice” his words. The first semester of first grade was fine, math became a little harder but he managed. The last half of first grade he began to have more tests at school and the “new” math was introduced. Bobby, my husband and I put on our “boots” and began our walk through the Common Core. Now Bobby is in second grade, and it is muddier. We need bigger and thicker boots this year to muddle through all the tests and Common Core crap.

This year, my six year old “returns” every Friday at 2:50 p.m. Friday’s are most definitely Bobby’s favorite day of the week. The minute he buckles himself in the car, he starts grinning and states, “It’s the weekend mom, two days off!” He starts smiling and giggling again. I see the stress drain from his face. His face regains color. I swear he is reborn the same day and time each week! He wants to go outside and play and continue working on the hole he is digging out back– the hole to get to China. He is very relaxed and calm but, most important— he is happy. He is back to being Bobby – my happy go lucky kid. This elation only lasts 24-36 hours and when it gets to be Sunday afternoon he starts asking the dreaded question,

“Is there school tomorrow Mom? Yes honey there is.”

Followed by, “Is there school the day after that?”

“Yes, Bobby you have school Monday through Friday.”

“Mom is there any half days this week?”

“No honey not this week.”

He is cringing at the thought of school and it’s only Sunday afternoon. The last question I answered from him was,

“Can you pick me up early then”?

“I really cannot. Besides you are having tacos tomorrow! Your favorite lunch. “

At this point I have to find the silver lining in any way I can, anything to motivate him to have a good day at school. The knot in my stomach begins as Bobby asks the dreaded Sunday question (“Is there school tomorrow, Mom?”). It doesn’t stop on Sunday with the questions; it’s actually every single day. Every morning half crying he says, “Is there school today, mom?” Some mornings he cries and says, “Can I stay home today?” I ask if he is sick and he says no, but school makes him feel sick. Several tests have come home the last few weeks with grades in math and reading ranging from 40 to 60. He is failing most of his tests, he feels sad and overwhelmed. He loved school less than two years ago but now I have to find the silver lining in any aspect of school that I can.

Bobby has had some recent dental issues that have involved several dental appointments. Halfway through, he had to change dentists. It has been a tough road correcting his dental problems (shots, Novocain, fillings, etc.). He has gone so far to ask if he could go to the dentist instead of school. That is how much he has grown to dislike school. School has become having to take a test or get ready for a test. The last dental appointment was not good – he felt the drill and hopes not to return to the dentist. The clincher is that he has one dental appointment left and when I ask him whether he wants to go to the dentist next Tuesday to finish up his dental work or go to school I already know the answer – he will choose the dentist even though it may hurt.

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About Betsy Bloom

Betsy is an Associate Professor of Education at Hartwick College in Oneonta NY. She is also a parent of two, a nine year veteran middle school social studies teacher and the current president of the NYS Foundations of Education Association, an organization dedicated to achieving social justice through public education.
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One Response to Is There School Tomorrow, Mom?

  1. Betsy Bloom says:

    This really hurts!

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