No offense to a 4th grade teacher

I am not sure I am a fan of my son's teacher. Don't get me wrong, Tanner is excelling in school for the most part, and I have always been a fan of Gahanna's educational system. However, I also am not afraid to call a spade a spade. When I felt the school did not handle the bullying situation, I did not stay quiet. When the bus ran very very late with no explanation on a very cold day, there was a phone call made. And now, after months of feeling like she has blinders on, I am ready to let her have it with 3 weeks to go in the school year.

Tanner is a numbers savant. He is great with figures and shapes and dates and stats. It is nothing for him to tell you what day of the week your birthday falls on in 2036. Or who led all left handed pitchers in walks in 1972 after the all star break but before the trading deadline. Or for him to remember what day, time, and mile marker it was 9 months ago when we last heard Cowboys and Angels on the radio. His ability with numbers can and will blow your mind. My kid is like the Batman of Math.

Tanner never misses a question on any math related quiz or assignment. But he continually gets penalized for not showing his work or how he got to the answer. We talked about this several months ago in a conference, and she told me that "It is so important for him to show his work. That is a skill he will use the rest of his life". Whoa there a second lady. I regularly write estimate and draw sketches of complex homes. I put in windows, curved staircases, and every type of angled wall that you can imagine. I use math. Daily. Yet never, in 15 year, have I had an estimate rejected because I didn't show how I got my square footage or where the numbers came from. Or to make it easier to understand what I am saying, I do not ask my iPhone to explain how it knew that by someone dialing the exact right combination of digits, it will ring no matter where I am at.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the gist of what she is saying. Most people have to understand the process before they can reach a conclusion. I need to use my tape measures before I an input the data to create my sketch. But Tanner doesn't have too. As easily as you and I can tell what one plus one is without using our fingers to add, Tanner can tell you how many days it is until Superbowl without having to count them out. It is in his head. And while he cannot explain how he gets the answers sometimes, they are never wrong. So why penalize him? I know it is her job to make sure he learns while in her class. That is her job, and with almost 30 kids in class, maybe she cannot take the time to understand how each learns.

I don't know. I am not a teacher, nor would I want to be. That profession requires a truly kind heart and patience to not only deal with students, but with parents like me as well. Maybe my problem is bigger than Mrs. Smith.

As Tanner continues to grow, I am worried about the same type of obstacles awaiting him in middle and high school. I worry about him struggling to find the best avenue for his education the older he gets. He is an exceptionally bright kid, but he doesn't learn like other people. And to paraphrase something I once heard, if you tell a fish it a a failure because it cannot climb a tree, then what chance does that fish have of ever reaching its potential.

If you have any experience with homeschooling, please feel free to share it with me. We are seriously considering this as an option after he is done with 5th grade.

Day # 427, only a couple more weeks left with this teacher. I think I will bite my tongue. It is good to be me.


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