The other day I commented on another’s mother’s tweet about children being pressured about their attendance records at school, when they’ve been absent because of sickness. This inspired me to write this blog because I’m going through a similar situation myself at the moment.
Now let’s get one thing straight before we start. I’m a good mother and that might be viewed as conceited but honestly, I don’t care. My daughter loves school, she loves to learn, she loves playtime’s and friends, she’s sociable and I’ve never had a problem with her. Oh, apart from the girly arguments these 9 year old girls have, you know the ones mums? “Mum? Me and so and so fell out today and I’m never talking to her again.” The next morning they run into the playground and run off with ‘said so and so’ and all is forgotten. Ha ha! I remember being that age and similar fall outs. I would do anything to see my girl running into the playground now. You see my daughter has been ill on and off for the last year and a half. Usually she will pick up after a few days and be back to normal, running around and being her usual sarcastic little gobshite self, and I love that. However this time she hasn’t picked up and it’s been awful watching how poorly she is.
As we got a week into her illness, I had to ask her if there was anything at school bothering her that may make her not want to go in. I was answered with a firm no and she assured me that if there was, she would tell me. I believe her. We’ve always had a relationship where we are close and tell the truth. You’re probably thinking ‘Shes 9! Not 19!’ but I know my child. No one knows her better than me and that includes teachers. At risk of this turning into another really long blog, we’re going to fast forward another week. She’s still struggling. She’s still super tired too but she misses school and her friends. I know she won’t be able cope with a full day so I go to see the headteacher. And this is where my shit gets gripped!
School is a place children go to learn and grow. The teachers have chosen this career path because they want to teach and help children. At least that’s what I’m guessing. Everyone knows that they’re underpaid, it’s always in the media. So I may be mistaken but I doubt they chose this career because of the pay cheque. I don’t want to put all teachers into one box, that’s not my intention at all because there are some really incredible ones out there. Including the teaching assistants who are overlooked a lot in my opinion. But where is the freaking compassion with some of these educators?
What’s more important? My child’s health or your stats and records? She can’t cope with a full day of school at the moment and that’s not only hard for her but also hard on me. To watch your child love school and enjoy learning, to be doing well and exceeding your expectations, to be having glowing reports when you go in for parent and teacher evenings, to not even being able to stand or walk in the morning or manage to get dressed, let alone go to school is heartbreaking. I’m not dramatising this. This is genuinely how she has been for the majority of the last 3 weeks. I’ve had to help walk her to the toilet because she’s been unable to stand. She has had to have baths instead of showers because she hasn’t been able to stand for that length of time unaided. So when she asked me if she could try and go back to school because she missed it and missed her friends, I agreed to let her try. Half days only and if she couldn’t manage then I was to be called.
It’s early days but tests have been run and everything is pointing towards M.E or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I made the headteacher aware of this and in our meeting said that we had to take things slowly to see if she was going to be able to cope with school. Straight away I’m asked if we can stretch the half day out so my child could be present for the afternoon registration. I won’t repeat my exact words but I am still fuming from this. While she was off school, I called the school daily to tell them she wouldn’t be in, and after a few days, I’m being asked when she’ll be back and what is wrong with her. At that present time I had no idea what was wrong with her. Then when I am aware of what it could be and I make the school aware, you’re asking me if we can stretch her day out so she’s present for afternoon register. Now with all due respect, you’re not her Mother but you are a teacher. You have a duty of care and I’m telling you what the Dr’s are advising and you’re more concerned with your attendance figures.? No! I’m her Mum. I know what is best for her. I know that she won’t cope. How do I know that? Because I live with her, I take care of her, I love her and I’ve seen how unwell she’s been and is. Two days later after 2 half days at school, on the 3rd half day I was proved right. She could hardly stand when I woke her for school but still wanted to try, bless her heart. I should not of let her really but she honestly wanted to go. Anyhow, she didn’t make it and I had to pick her up. The rest of the day and weekend she was practically horizontal the entire time.
Now the Dr’s are advising no school until I think she’s strong enough.And you know what? I’m sticking to my guns regardless of the pressure. I’m just dreading the conversation I’m going to have to have with the school. Are you in a similar situation to me? Do you have any experience in M.E? Or do you have a school on your back about attendance of your poorly child? Comment and let’s discuss because I honestly don’t think I’m in the wrong. Am I?
Strong Mummy raising a Queen.
Kimmi’s Qualms Xx
Images are my own and not to be taken.