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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crushing A Child's Enthusiasm

My daughter blogged about Crushing A Child's Creativity on her blog and it has made me want to talk about a recent incident with my nearly 13 year old grand-daughter.

As you may remember, I have mentioned that she was involved in a car accident just before her 5th birthday that left her with brain damage, epilepsy and learning disabilities and some lessening of her control of her foot and in the mornings especially shaky hands. Through this accident her pituitary gland seems to have been shaken so much that now her thyroid and adrenal systems don't work as they should either and so she is now overweight. She struggles with her self image.

She is the most lovely, loving and caring person who tries to do her best. She cares for everyone around her and often looks after the other special kids in her class.

This year she started high school in a special eduction unit attached to a mainstream school, she does most of her subjects in the SEU class but joins mainstream teachers for her electives. The one elective she loved most in 1st and 2nd term was dance, followed closely by drama. She tried so hard, and every time she talked to me about dance classes her face lit up and she became really animated. She loved it, she laughed about being clumsy sometimes and having to dance with other girls.

Their reports came out at the end of 2nd term and she got an E (they don't give F's now you get an E - means the same thing) and the comment from the teacher was something like - unable to do all the steps in sequence, struggled with rhythm.

She is heart-broken and no longer is dance something she thinks she can do.

How dare this ignorant teacher mark her against her able bodied peers - does effort and enthusiasm count for nothing? Part of the reason she didn't learn all the steps was - she broke her foot and was in a cast for 6 weeks (and a wheel chair for 2 of those).

I am barely containing my anger, as it is not my place to complain to the school - but for God's sake get a brain you half-wit. Do you not realise what you have done? No longer will this child feel the freedom to dance without being self-conscious, you have done real damage here.

We say to each other (from when she was little) that we love each other to the moon and back - well my darling you will always be my moon dancer and I hope that one day you will think you are too.


  1. so being in a special ed unit does not count for anything when they grade her? Poor C, how awful. How dare they cause such permanent damage to her. Maybe you could get her dance lessons for Christmas.

  2. Jesus. That makes me so angry that I want to call the bloody school up myself, and yell at them. How dare they!

    Give her a big hug from me, and tell her that I'd let her dance with me any time.

  3. I have since found out she got Es for all her mainstream subjects - the system has to change - it has to have the flexibility to do so. She understands what an E means, she reads the comments and takes them to heart. Can our love be enough to get her through another 5 years of this?



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