I didn’t think it would escalate to this point.
I thought I had addressed it with her properly; case closed.
Yesterday was the first day back in school after the Chinese New Year week-long break. When Grandpa went to pick her up, apparently he was told by Teacher Rachel something about Caitlin crying earlier.
This morning about halfway during the journey to school, Caitlin started protesting that she didn’t want to go to school. Ever. After realising that the protests was not going anywhere, she “suggested” that she didn’t want to go to school “only today”.
We arrive at the school, and she is starting to get teary eyed. Okay; I am a sook. She is the apple of my eye. I admit for a brief moment the thought of giving in flashed through my mind.
We sat in the car for a few minutes. Me twisting in the front seat straining my bloated mid-section from all the CNY feasts, to rationalise with her in the backseat.
She said something about disliking the teachers walking in and out. Gotta admit I didn’t quite get what she was saying.
She only relented when I promised I’d have a word with Teacher Rachel upstairs.
Up we went, and since we were a little late, Teacher was already starting her lessson. The other kids were already seated. I gestured Caitlin to enter, and motioned for Teacher to come over for a quick chat. Caitlin was of course still very hesitant.
I said in Mandarin that Caitlin had started to “fear” coming to school. Teacher shared that, perhaps from yesterday or the days before the week off, that Caitlin finds comfort in having her (Teacher Rachel) around when Teacher Ann comes in, and when she is teaching. Yes, Teacher Rachel was sitting at the back of the class. She even shared that Caitlin had come/run over to hug her when Teacher Ann came around / came in. She also did say that there were times when she had to go out of the classroom sometimes / visit the admin office etc. I think Caitlin starts getting edgy as soon as she steps out of the classroom.
Teacher Rachel reassured that she’d be present in the classes, for Caitlin’s sake.
I wanted to then leave. Caitlin starts crying, not wanting to let me leave. It was quite hard detaching her off me without really creating a scene; which would only make matters / emotionally worse for her.
It was quite heart wrenching- I know now what parents really feel on first days of school. This, coming from Caitlin who has been going to school all last year without an incident.
Two things I learned.
- Caitlin doesn’t really communicate well at times.
- She doesn’t handle stress very well.
More to come.
Update Thursday 5 Feb
That was yesterday. Caitlin was again distressed this morning.
The “incident” wasn’t as long though, mainly because, well, I didn’t hang around.
We reached the door and Teacher Rachel came out, seemingly already had something in mind to tell me. What she managed to tell me was that Caitlin is (also?) unhappy with the amount of homework she is given; something about Caitlin saying “.. but I have already done this homework- why am I doing / writing this again…?”
Managed, because Caitlin started crying and wanting to hug me again at the door. Teacher Rachel then started ushering her into the class, and I wanted to get out of Caitlin’s sight. Waited for 20 seconds or so, decidedly not to wait anymore if Teacher Rachel was gonna come back out to complete her “analysis” of Caitlin’s frame of mind.
Last night I did ask Caitlin how her school day went, seeing as that was the same morning as the first incident / post. She did offer that school day was okay, no incidents.
She also offered something about “I was paying attention” (and thus I wasn’t scolded, or reprimanded, which seems to be the crux of her issue).
Apparently that may have been the issue- that she wasn’t paying (enough?) attention in class, getting told off for it. I am only guessing this.
That, and perhaps that she (therefore?) did not know how to answer something / do her homework, that she was “scolded” for it.
Maybe in future I will just walk her to the stairs, and refuse her request to walk her to the classroom door… What do you think?
Update 2 – after school today
Teacher Rachel called me out of courtesy. Very nice of her.
I guess she had wanted to finish what she started telling me this morning; possible adding new insights into the situation…
- Indeed, Caitlin (also) thinks that she has too much homework; you will recall that our arrangement for Caitlin this year is that she will be getting extra attention;
- That Teacher Ann does speak / scold loudly, and even though it may not be directed at Caitlin, she seems to take it “personally”;
- That Daddee matters a lot in her life
“Our strategy” now is to re-gain or re-instill Caitlin’s confidence and interest in school, using that last point: Daddee has to show (greater) interest in her schoolwork, justifying the amount that she (complains) has to do, to kinda give praise (positive reinforcement) to her work done.
We will start this tomorrow morning.
It’s going to be interesting this Saturday, given she has replacement school-days because of the week-long Chinese New Year break. Interesting because I will be dropping her off in my non-work clothes, and she is going to complain she still has to go to school!