Could use your help with a teenage/school question.........

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by recoveringenabler, May 24, 2012.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have one of those parenting questions that kept me up last night thinking of which way to go. My 16 year old granddaughter has been taking French and doing poorly so we got her a tutor in a prestigious local highly rated private school. Her tutor and also the director/owner of the school suggested that because she was having so much trouble in French and had taken Spanish 1 as a Freshman, that she take Spanish 2 through their school for the summer. It was quite expensive but we were considering it.

    I spoke to the tutor and said I wanted her to pass French first and we would think about Spanish later. The tutor told my granddaughter that the summer class would involve 20 hours a week of study for the student. I talked to the tutor about this and didn't think those extra hours would work out for my granddaughter, just too much studying for the summer. After a few weeks I called the tutor to talk about it and she had talked to my granddaughter already and they had assumed that what would work out best was for her to take the first semester in the summer and the second semester from August to Dec. The cost went up considerably. Considering that the Public school offers Spanish 2 for free I was in a quandary as to what to do.

    She does very well in this one on one environment and I think she would benefit from this class. One of the things that I didn't like is that the tutor talked to my
    granddaughter first about all of this without consulting me. Seems like a good marketing tool to talk to the kid first, get them on board and then the parent is put in the creepy place of disappointing the child. Okay, so I waited for awhile thinking about it. In the meantime my granddaughter made out her Junior schedule with electives that she really wants to take. I didn't know that. Her schedule for next year has already been completed. After talking to my SO about it and considering the money and the now 13 hours a week of homework that she will have to study for the 6 week summer first semester, we were leaning towards not doing it. But now that she has her schedule, her heart set on taking it, I am now in that place I really dislike, having to make a hard decision for someone else and disappointing them to boot. She needs to take Spanish 2 to meet the requirements for college. And, yet the class is offered for free at the HS.

    In addition, she just got her drivers license and although she can drive my car when it's available, we have been talking about getting her her own car. She has been, as many teens are, really looking forward to driving and especially having her own car. We are planning on making her own car contingent on her maintaining a B average for the first semester next year. We talked to her about that yesterday and that was also a disappointment for her since she believed she would get her own car before that (we had been talking about it for awhile but we had not been clear with her what that entailed because we just worked it all out recently) So, yesterday we told her all of that and she was crying and upset. I can't blame her for being disappointed, I get that. She lost the Spanish 2 class and the car she was anticipating having sooner. I could pay for the Spanish class, I think it's a lot of money, it would be a bit of a stretch but geez, it's her future. Maybe we should have waited and not hit her with 2 disappointments at once. I was up most of last night trying to come up with a viable solution but nothing emerged. I have some resentment towards the private school for not speaking directly to me about all of this before it was presented to my granddaughter and also because I was told we could make financial arrangements and pay for the class before it's complete. When I inquired about that, I was told that they charge a flat $100 for the financial arrangement or as the tutor said, "you can just put it on a card." I thought the financial arrangement was offered for free, after all we would be paying it in full before the class is complete which is just a couple of months. That also left a bad taste in my mouth. I often get peeved when I believe marketing your product or service slips into what I may consider bad form, so I'm taking that into consideration. Also realizing, in spite of my judgments about the marketing, it's a great opportunity for kids to have this option if they can afford it.

    Okay, after all of that, my granddaughter and I talked this morning, after the disappointment subsided a little, and we came up with a compromise to ask her guidance counselor if she could drop one of her electives and put Spanish 2 in her schedule next year. The major part of that is a request for a certain teacher. One of the reasons my granddaughter believes she did so poorly in French was that the teacher was not a good language teacher. (Incidentally, she does very well in all her other classes) Having checked around, I found this to be true.

    I've never requested a teacher before so I am not sure if that is a request a school will honor. Does anyone know the answer to that? I wrote an email to the counselor and explained in great detail, what we wanted and why without making any comments at all about the present teacher. Is there a way anyone may know of which can facilitate the request for a particular teacher? Or if anyone has any insights or ideas about the teacher request, private school or car or anything, I'm all ears. Sometimes this parenting thing can feel so challenging. I want to give her the best possible support for her future, without coddling her and creating an entitled kid. I realize that sometimes she will be disappointed, but she has had so many disappointments and I realize I can't make up for that, nor is that my responsibility, but I can't help but feel for her. Especially considering all that she's gone through with her parents. She is a good kid. Am I missing anything I should be seeing? I would appreciate anything you feel willing to offer. As always, thanks for your support.

  2. keista

    keista New Member

    I think that's a good plan going through the public school first. If Spanish 2 can be added there with the desired teacher, then it sounds like you are well set.

    If you must go to this private school I would tell them that I did not appreciate their marketing strategy and you feel bullied into signing up your granddaughter for this course. You will only do it if they offer a discount. If they refuse, can she take Spanish 2 at the school next year? Is virtual school through the public school system an option?

    I was also thinking you might make it all her choice - private Spanish or car.

    It is so tricky, but one of the important lessons we must teach our kids is how to deal with disappointment.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I like your plan to change the electives.
    I would always recommend any class that the student is already taking in the public school system, continue to be taught under their auspices, and your tax dollars. :)
    You must have more control over your mouth than I do. I would have made a snide remark to my difficult child about what a "great" marketing job that private school did. (He has learned a lot of sarcasm from me over the yrs.)

    In regard to the disappointment, don't worry about it. I hate to say it, but there will be many more disappointments along the way, particularly when it comes to money. This, in itself, is a learning experience.
  4. Sounds like the private school is trying to shake you down for some cash. You're already not liking doing business with them, so don't.

    There may be other options with other schools if you really can't make the public school thing work. Whether you can request a different teacher depends (of course) on the scheduling, but many school administrators actually see the advantage of having a teacher/student pair that works well together. You might brainstorm a bit with your girl on WHY she finds this teacher difficult to work with and why a different one would be better. It helps you make a better case and there may be some insight there for one or both of you.

    As for the "I could pay for the Spanish class, I think it's a lot of money, it would be a bit of a stretch but geez, it's her future" ... her future doesn't really ride on a Spanish class. There are many paths a person can take to get somewhere and there are always options and alternatives. Don't put yourself against the wall financially for this -- you may very well find better uses for the money later.

    Good luck.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hate anyone who goes to the kids first. I have actually had people go to KEYANA who then comes begging me and she was 4 at the time! I was livid.

    I think I would try for Spanish 2 at school. But I am a bit confused. Okay, did she do well in Spanish 1? I think I got confused in your recounting. Did she do well in Spanish 1 and then transfer to French and do well or did she do poorly in both? I found french easier but then I had latin 1 and 2 before I took french. Dont even ask why I took Actually it is funny. I was going to take Spanish like everyone else did but when I went in there the first day or two and the teacher said we had to answer her in Spanish and say presente and I couldnt roll my r's the way she wanted me to, well that was the end of my Spanish class. I switched to a dead language I wouldnt have to speak. Actually turned out great because I went to Rome when I was 15 for a class trip! So there Spanish Maybe she would do better with Latin. Do you have to have Spanish now?
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Janet, yes, she got an A in Spanish 1, has been failing French 1. I don't know why she took French 1 instead of Spanish 2, which would have been logical, but at the time she was living with her sister for a short stint and I wasn't around to monitor that choice. Bad choice. I am waiting now for the guidance counselor to get back to me about whether she can take Spanish 2 with the teacher of her choice at the HS. As it turned out, she and I talked a lot about compromises and disappointments. You were all right, I can't keep life's disappointments at bay for her, but I can teach her how to deal with them. Thank you all for your responses, you all helped.
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    At the high school I teach at, you cannot request a certain teacher. Even teachers that have children at the school cannot request specific teachers for their children.

    The adminstration said that they do that because scheduling becomes a nightmare once you start allowing parents to request specific teachers. And if you let anyone do it . . . then everyone wants to do it.

    As far as taking French during the summer, it does sound like the tutoring service is trying to drum up business. If your grandaughter did great in Spanish 1 at the public school, why wouldn't she do fine in Spanish 2 at the public school? I am confused why she would even have the French teacher that she didn't like as a Spanish 2 teacher anyway. Does the teacher teach both French and Spanish?

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Kathy. That may be the case here as well, I haven't heard back from the guidance counselor yet. And, yes the teacher teaches French and Spanish. I can understand how requesting certain teachers would be a scheduling nightmare. My granddaughter has accepted going to the HS for Spanish 2. I think this issue was made difficult mostly because of the tutor talking to her about the options of private school and making that look VERY appealing before I was brought into the mix.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Before doing anything...I would double-check how many units of a lamguage are required to graduate. Here in SC it is two. Seems to me if your daughter already took Spanish one and French one (and assuming she is passing the French) - then that's her two units. The end.
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Even if the requirement is only two units you need to be careful. Many colleges today require 3 units (years) of the same language. My state only requires two years of a foreign but when my easy child started investigating colleges, she found that many of the ones that she was interested in required 3 years of the same language for admission. She ended up having to take French 3.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well I would look into Spanish 2...then if anyone wants a third language she can say with an air of sophistication "I wanted to expand my possibilities!" LOL

    When anyone asked me why I would ever want to study a dead language I used the old stand by that most modern languages are based on latin so I had a leg up on them all. Plus I can read our national seal.