Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Zoe, Roy and the burrowing owls

Zoe has a book report due in a week, and she worked on it last Sunday. I took a look at it this morning and let her know that she has two options:
  1. Turn it in as-is and get whatever grade she has coming to her.
  2. Work on it some more, with my help, and make it better.
This immediately resulted in a huge melt-down. I explained that of the eight questions that were asked, she essentially answered about five of them with the same answer.

What was the story about?
Roy and his friends worked together to save some burrowing owls from being bulldozed.

Who were the main characters?
Roy, the burrowing owls, and the people who wanted to bulldoze them.

What didn't you like about the story?
I didn't like that there were people who wanted to bulldoze the burrowing owls.

What was your favorite part of the story?
I like that Roy and his friends saved the burrowing owls from being bulldozed.

How did the story end?
Roy and his friends saved the burrowing owls from being bulldozed.

I started asking her more questions. Didn't Roy just move to that community, and didn't he feel lonely? Did he make new friends through this endeavor to save the owls? Wasn't he being bullied by a kid named Dana? How was that resolved?

She asked, "How do you know all this?"

Well, I read the summary, and apparently I could write better book report from that than the kid who read the whole damn book.

I told her I would help her, and instead of erasing all the erasable ink she had laid down on the form (which never works well...erasable ink being a huge misnomer and the most stupid invention ever), I told her to ask her teacher for a fresh copy.

Tears. Tears and wailing and gnashing of teeth. You would have thought I told her she had to tattoo the book report on her face with the blood of a burrowing owl.

"If I ask my teacher for a new form she will yell at me!"
Why would she yell at you?
"Because she always yells at us!"
Does she yell at you specifically or all of you?
"She yells at all of us!"
Are you misbehaving?
"No! She just yells at us!"

Keep in mind that we are now several weeks into the school year and we have asked over and over how her teacher is and whether she likes her and we've always received positive feedback. This is the first time I've ever heard anything like this.

This also morphed into the blanket dejection, "Every day I wake up and I think this is going to be the best day ever and then it's ruined - RUINED - before it's even half over!"

We got her calmed down and told her that if she asked her teacher for a new form the day the report was due, or the day before, then yeah, her teacher might express a bit of frustration, but that being a whole week out, she was fine. And also that it's entirely her choice on whether today sucks or is great.

Then I called her out on her bullshit and said that what she's really upset about is that she feels she has to do more work on a project she thought was finished, which led to more tears, a collapse in my arms, and a semi-admission that yes, that was really what was wrong.

By the time I dropped her off at school, approximately 10 minutes later, she was smiling and happy, singing and dancing, and completely okay with asking her teacher for a new book report form.

I hear tell that this will only get worse. I can't wait.


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