Oh School

The beginning of each school year is t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e. It has been in Kindergarten, Grade 1 and now Grade 2.

And even though Jonathan is at the same school, and even though the teachers know him and he knows them (and likes them), and even though we have awesome transition plans in place for end of the year AND the beginning of the year it’s still t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e.

In 20 days of school, 3 have been good, 1 has been great and the rest have been very shaky or horrible. Lots of yelling, hitting, not listening, knocking kids down, throwing rocks, refusing work, and a new one – running up to kids calling them ugly, and on and on. (I know it’s hard for some to believe that (based on my Instagram pictures) that the sweet little smiling boy you see in a 2×2 square can do those things…but you fellow adopters, I’m sure, are pickin’ up what I’m putting’ down, right?! Are you with me?! This is part of the trauma gig people; most lovely one moment, most destructive and angry the next. Carrying on!)

The teachers are UH-MA-ZING (see Everybody Needs a Tracy). The whole school from principle down have been great over the last two years. But I thought this year I’d up the adoption/trauma info to the teacher, if she was open. Of course she was because… UH-MA-ZING.

After asking for The Family of Five’s advice (Thank you!) to confirm my crazy on sending a 4 page document that nobody would have the time to read and taking some of her other advice, I came up with the document below. I also sent them links to several short articles/blogs that I thought also helped explain things. They are also listed below.

And although Jonathan’s behaviour is still all over the map there is a greater understanding, not only with his teacher and aide, but they shared (with permission) to the entire DHH (deaf and hard of hearing) teaching team. Even the lady who greets the bus students in the morning! How do I know? Because she stopped and THANKED ME. I have been thanked by various staff for letting them know about Jonathan’s behaviours and what they mean because they don’t have any adoption/trauma training. The tell me there are more kids in the school (of course there are!) who come from not so great places or are currently in not so great places and the teachers don’t know how to support them at school. I was even asked to come and do a workshop (I’ll keep you posted if it ever happens!)

So, I thought I’d share it here. Please feel free to change and adapt it to fit your child if you think it would be helpful to share with teachers, babysitters, family members etc.

(clicking on the link above opens a word document, if you have
difficulties let me know and I can email you the document)

Helpful, short, articles/blogs that explain trauma, adoption and what it’s really like:

Attachment, Trauma and Education

Rage Against the Minivan – How to talk to teachers about adoption

Jane Evans – Trauma parenting specialist and trainer

The Mighty – Why ‘All Kids Do That’ Doesn’t Apply to Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma