Tuesday, March 04, 2008

We really need to remember the earplugs

Tonight was Drew's turn. He really tried to be a trooper early in the game. The kids are still yelling too loud at times, and he did stand up for himself. EL, who was helping out in class, even told the kids that it's okay to be enthusiastic when answering up, but they didn't have to yell. Well, she tried, and I thanked her for it. It got to be too much that Drew had to sit out for a little bit, as he was grabbing his ear and saying he was getting a headache behind his ear when it got to be too much. There's one kid in particular, T, whom you see in his eyes that he knows that his overly loud answering bothers Drew, and he has this evil gleam in his eyes looking over at Drew when he does it. He always positions himself next to Drew, just to irk him. Even tonight, Drew said he was going to ignore the kids when they yelled too much, but he just couldn't. I tell you, sensory integration disorder really sucks. But he tried, and I really, REALLY need to remember to bring his earplugs with him to muffle the sound so he can handle it. I know that one of the other student assistants, LS, tried again to work with him, which I appreciate a lot. He seems to respond to her, which is good.

I was talking to one of the dads tonight, and I figured out that as far as I can tell, Drew is the next to youngest in the class, even if he's not the lowest ranked (he's definitely one of the lower ones, though). His daughter is the youngest at age 4, and she's the same rank as Drew (she came up through another school then transferred). Part of the problem is that Drew is only 6 years old. (Okay, he'd correct me and say 6 1/2.) However, he's as big as the 8 and 9 year olds, so very often, people don't understand why he acts immature and such. Well, let's see, most ADHD and children with speech deficiencies tend to be more immature anyway. And well, he IS younger than everyone else there (with the exception of the four year old)! What do you expect! It seems like only those parents who have been with him the whole time, and the staff really understand how far he's come over the years. I mean, he started almost 3 years ago come this spring. Oh yes, he's come a long way, but like I said, most people don't realize it, and don't know what he's had to do to get to where he is now. He's never been in the SA classes-- he's always been put in the mainstream classes. For a child who started this venture at 3 1/2 and had JUST started to learn how to talk at that point, plus the sensory and ADHD stuff (although we didn't know of the latter of those two until last year), that HAD to be difficult. But he's persevered. And it's still hard for him to get through class sometimes, yet he does.

Anyway, let me get off my soapbox for a moment.

Okay, as I was saying...

Drew really loves JB. They were working on the move where you switch sides and duck back a little so as to get a high hit, but not hit your own face. He got the hang of it last week when they showed it, so he was goofing off a little, but he could do it while some other kids still struggled with it. And sparring, well, again, he was paired up with another kid who decided that it was time free-for-all time. Well, it wasn't just him that was like that, several kids were like that, but he's a higher belt as well as older. So, I saw that the next round, Drew sparred with the assistant who was trying to help him earlier, LS. She got him good, but he was having fun with it as she'd kick him in the head a few times, and he'd rally back. As he was getting his gear off, I think he finds that he likes sparring the instructors, or at least much older kids who are bigger than him, because he gets that balance of him being able to go all out a little, plus they present him with a challenge, and I think he likes that.

I think the thing I'm discovering in the last few weeks, however, is that SW doesn't teach at any point in that class at all. Not that she has to do that. She'll teach the W-O-Y class at the same time, and hypes that up, especially for those new parents who are watching. And for business purposes, I can understand that. She is the draw there, so she needs to perform and show these people early on that this is what's expected, and that she's good at what she does, so when they bump up they are prepared. But part of me just wishes that she'd see what's going on at this color belt class that Drew is in. I know she can't pay particular attention to him, but when she's there, he pays better attention, and she'll dole out justice much more quickly than these teenage girls who are instructors, no matter how good they are. If I had the time and money for private lessons, I'd do it. Yet at the same time, he needs the social interaction that happens with class. Even though TKD is supposed to teach the kids courtesy and respect for others, there are still bullies in his class. He could easily be a bully himself, but I really try to work hard to make sure that he's not, yet will stand up for himself. I just wish that SW wasn't talking it up with the bullies' parents because they put multiple kids in her school. It irks me. I know Drew is not an easy child to deal with, but if courtesy and respect really isn't practiced unless she is in the kids' faces, then what's the point? There are times I want to help out in that class, so I can lecture the kids in a generic way, and show them that "evil Ma'am"'s got NOTHING on Mrs. V (that's me). As I mentioned, I run my Cub Scout den like a TKD class, and the kids are much more respectful in there than they are where it really should be happening. I don't say anything to SW because, well, I really don't think she's going to do anything about it, and probably would think I'm whining or something.

Sorry, back on the soapbox. Can you tell this really bothers me, week after week?

I'm probably only going to take one class tomorrow, as my BIL is coming in very late tonight to visit for 3 weeks, and tomorrow will be our first night together, so rather than take two classes, just one will be fine. Maybe I'll just go on Saturday or something. I dunno. I'm not unhappy with my school. I guess it's just that I'm not always happy with how things are handled, and it's only because of staffing shortages, and because I am mentally worn out by the place sometimes. It's still very much like another home to me, as I like to talk to other parents and students and such. But sometimes, oh, it's just a little too dysfunctional for my taste. It's not as bad as other places, I remind myself. And we're not transferring. I just don't feel like my family -- either Drew or I-- get the attention we need to do better. Even me. I'm just left on my own more often than not, so it's discouraging, especially when I'm bored. I know I need help with some elements of my form, and I'm just not going to be getting it. Bleeh.

Earplugs. Gotta remember the earplugs.

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