Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In a word: STRESS
I hate that word, especially when it comes to my kids. My son is 11 years old today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUDDY!) It just kills me that he came home from school yesterday, his face drawn tight with tension, and his big brown eyes sitting in a shallow pool of unshed tears. "I'm just so stressed, Mama."
It seems both his personality and the merciless tack of the NCLB crap are taking their toll on my not-so-little guy's self-esteem. He explained that a lot of work has just "gotten away from him" and he is so afraid of ending the year with a bad report card. Like is father, DS can be a bit scatter-brained and disorganized. That's how assignments slip through the cracks. He is also in the gifted program, which is a pull-out program, and that means he has to initiate requests for work that he may have missed. Okay, we can work on that. But the pressure that is generated by the whole "gotta pass the test, gotta excel on that damn PSSA..." above all else (including learning). That is crap! Plain and simple.
I know that he as arrived at that age when things like grades and success matter in more tangible ways. I know that I cannot protect him from stress and pressure and all that comes with growing up, especially the oncoming train wreck known as adolescence. We had a great talk about things and came up with a plan for handling the end of the school year, but I deeply resent the extra pressure that NCLB has created for the kids. Even more, I loath the attitude that so many administrators are taking--"Gotta save my ass so these kids had better perform!" I won't even go into the hell my kindergardener went through last year--when a 5 year old stresses out about an 89% on a math test?!!!! What 5-year-old should even know what a math test is, let alone and 89%?! I mean, come on...at 5 years old, she can barely count to 20!
Sorry about the rant...just had to blow off a little steam. It's just that DS is such a laid-back guy, so when I see the stress actually get to him, it tears my heart out. He has a lot to deal with right now--potentially moving to a new state, changing schools, moving away from friends...And no clear plan yet. Oh yeah, and we just had the sex talk, too! Poor kid...