Thursday, April 21, 2011

Worry Wart

Funny thing, I was looking up the correct spelling for worry wart and came up with worry guts as a synonym. That about sums it up. I worry, my stomach hurts, I don't eat, I worry and so on. I can't for the life of me figure out what on Earth I am so overwhelmed about. At 2 am I am plagued with lists: things to do, thing not done soon enough, things not done well enough. I think I spent so much of this winter in a sense of hyper alert, that my body is just on worry auto drive. It stinks because it is irrational, it is ridiculous, and yet I cannot stop. Here it is spring break, my time to relax and what do I do? I fret, I don't sleep, I'm back to being able to only keep cookies and crackers down. Oh good grief! I do have some valid worries, but they are so out of my hands. I kid myself by thinking shear determination and wishing on my part will change things. I also have turned into a bit of a maternal bully. If my family won't do what's best, I will bully until they cave. I hate myself like this. I am no fun and enjoy nothing.

What is the chief worry you wonder? Damn SOL tests. Caroline is right on the border of failing the math one again. If this happens, she looses band next year in order to receive remediation. No flexibility or creative thinking on the part of the school system. My amazing daughter is simply a statistic. It is enough to make me want to scream at the school. Of course, I don't. I also don't let her know what a crummy system this is. All that would do is give her permission to quit. I've been told that she'll get it together if she wants it bad enough. How does she know what she wants? I don't let my six year old choose her dinner (she'd pick ice cream) and I won't let my 13 year old decide her entire educational path. She's not informed, she's too young. Other's think it isn't a big deal. Things are different now. Her diploma path is decide this minute. I've also had other parents tell me they'd rather their super bright children had Caroline's work ethic (she really is a very hard worker). Oh yeah? Your kid might decide not to turn in work and fail classes, but all that matters is if they can pass that stupid test. Which of course they can. All of this has made my poor girl feel like she isn't smart. My goodness of course she is. She is kind and loving and insightful (although along with this goes naive). She just doesn't take tests well. She needs a different approach. One is not available.

I don't really blame her teachers. I understand the boat they are in. Teacher refer to it as the era of extreme accountability. Teachers have no choice they need to work within the system. I could go on, but honestly, I am loathe to mention anything about education without worrying (there it is again) about getting in trouble. I love my job and I respect teachers. I think those in the trenches of both education and medicine have it really tough these days. We know what is best, yet our hands are tied. Do we jump ship? I don't. I choose to stay and try to create change within. However, I don't work at Caroline's school. I can't follow her to class and make sure she has the best possible learning environment. Even if I could I wouldn't, I'm not that far gone. I believe in public education. So what do I do? I hire a tutor and bribe her with a shopping spree if she practices math everyday on the computer. I also pray. I am not profoundly religious, but I believe in a higher power. I know that if I have done all I can, I need to turn the rest over. I need to have faith. Faith is hard to have when you want complete control. I know how silly this seems in light of larger world problems, but my kids are my world. Getting the best for them is why I am here. It is my only real purpose.

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