Category Archives: College

He promised to Skype with me, instead he met me in the driveway

A picture of middle child showing off while canoeing..

Middle child showing off while canoeing.

The past week was quite trying for me, with a hospital visit for middle child, new medication for myself, hubby working different shifts plus overtime, I had pretty much met my limit by yesterday.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, middle child now attends college about four hours away. It is not a far distance but when she is off to the emergency department because she had passed a very large menstrual blood clot, she might as well be on another planet.

Numerous phone calls were made back and forth, money was transferred so a cab could be taken to the hospital (and back again). Tears were shed as she waited alone in a strange emergency department. The snow was coming down hard, our first storm of the season, as I debated whether or not to drive up there, knowing full well that I couldn’t make the drive myself, plans were thought out as to who could watch the dogs, so hubby could make the drive with me.

Middle child was seen by a doctor in record time for an emergency department, I believe she only waited about two hours, rather than four. Vitals were taken, blood work done. After determining she wasn’t anemic and all was stable they sent her home, telling her that the gynecologist would want to see her the next day.

Also during this week, sleeping for me was getting worse, with my one medication for chronic pain giving me insomnia. After seeing my physician, we decided that I would try a new prescription in hopes that I would start to get some sleep. So Friday, being alone, because hubby was working a twelve-hour day shift, I changed my meds. Usually if I start a new medication someone is always with me just in case I have a reaction. Well with the young man away at university, middle child away at college and having her own medical issues, the eldest living in another city now, I was alone. So, I wrote out my new list and emailed everyone, that way if something happened, phone calls could be made and correct information given. My best friend was also given the list, plus a text message was sent to her, being that she is only about twenty minutes away and happened to be on vacation. By evening, middle child would be home for the weekend, and hubby would also be home from work to watch over me.

Later that night around 1 a.m. I was woken up with extreme nausea, only to hear a beeping sound from the answering machine. Work had left a message for hubby, needing him to come in for a few hours because all the boilers are down. (This is considered an emergency since he works at a hospital, the boilers are a vital component, without them the hospital is in real trouble). Of course it didn’t seem to matter that he would have to be back at work Saturday morning for another twelve-hour shift.

Back to bed I go, and in the morning I read over the side affects of the new medication. Well lo and behold, nausea was one of them, but was I being woken up by a migraine? I phoned my pharmacist to ask her advice and to find out if I could take my migraine medication, would it react with the new script I just started? After discussing everything with her, we decided I would take my meds for a migraine since it would not interact negatively with the new painkillers. She reassured me all was good, her information was up-to-date so I didn’t have to worry.

Within an hour or two, the migraine medication started to relieve the nausea and headache, enabling me to make my Saturday morning market visit. The had day progressed pretty well, I was starting to feel normal, and the new pain medication seemed to be working, allowing me to function. By the afternoon I thought I would phone the young man since I hadn’t spoken to him in a few days, to explain my new medication, and what was going on with his sister.  As I started to tell him my stories, he cut me off, saying he was busy at the moment, but promised to Skype with me in about an hour and a half.

After waiting more than the hour and a half for the Skype phone call from the young man that didn’t seem to be coming, I went out again to finish grocery shopping. It was getting late in the day, I was tired, the trying week was starting to catch up with me, I was borderline as to whether or not I would fall apart.

Picture of the young man's cowboy bootsAs I started to remove the groceries from the van, I saw middle child, plus the young man’s ex-girlfriend (but still awesome friend) walking towards me to help. Then out of the blue the young man appeared. I was stunned, overcome with emotion, and cried in the driveway as he held me. Though I couldn’t stop crying, I asked question after question, how did he get here, when did he get here, and then told him he couldn’t go out this evening. He continued to hug me as he chuckled and said I know mom, I will stay in.

Back to university and college they went

The end of August, beginning of September is always a sad and joyful time of year for hubby and I. Why? Well as much as we love our kids, sending them back to university and college gives us a lovely holiday at home. Taking two of our children back to school also means we will be putting a lot of kilometres on our van. The young man (previously known as the teenage boy) is in his third year at Bishop’s University in the province of Quebec, a mere 743 kilometres away, thus 1486 kilometres return. This trip is always done in two days. After driving the young man, we would take one day of rest, then drive middle child to college up north, about two and a half hours away or 201 kilometres (402 kilometres for us).  She graduated from Bishop’s University in the spring with a double major in Environmental Studies & Geography plus a minor in Sports Studies.

We packed up the van in the early morning and were on the road by nine o’clock. This trip was made somewhat easier since our dogs were left at home with middle child. Driving was shared between the three of us, except I can only drive for a maximum of two hours, most times though I only last about an hour. We made it to our destination in approximately nine hours, traffic was not all that congested and thankfully there were no accidents.

The van packed for the young man's move

The van packed for the young man’s move.

The young man driving

The young man driving.

The young man is not living in residence this year, instead he has chosen to share an apartment with three other guys. He is in a brand new apartment building, which is just lovely, the only issue is he is on the fourth floor and there are no elevators.

View from the young man's apartment

The view from the young man’s living room window.

So hubby and him have to walk a lot of stairs umpteen times, with me being the door opener, I mean management. After hubby and the young man finished unloading the van,  we went out for a late dinner. With our tummies full, we dropped the young man off at his apartment, and headed to our motel down the street.

The next morning we took the young man grocery shopping. This was a huge bill (happily it did not reach $500.00, but it was a close call) since he needed everything from the basics of cleaning supplies, to food (mom and dad always pay for the first grocery bill, I don’t know why). After the groceries were carried up to his apartment, mom and dad made a quick exit, wishing him good luck, and the I love you’s.

We actually got away pretty early, I don’t think it was even 10 a.m when we left. Again the drive through Quebec was quite easy and when we entered our home province of Ontario, I decided we decided to take the scenic route home. We left highway 401, and went along highway 2, which runs parallel to the St. Lawrence. One of the routes we wanted to drive was the Long Sault Parkway, which takes you across numerous island. It did not disappoint.  We returned to the 401, then left the highway to take the 1000 Island Parkway. Having taken this route before, we stopped at Brown’s Bay Park for a much needed bathroom break and leg stretch.

Brown's Bay, Thousand Island Parkway

Brown’s Bay, Thousand Island Parkway.

Next we decided to take highway 33 just after Kingston, Ontario because I was interested in seeing Picton, Ontario. This drive had us driving a horseshoe shape which is very much out-of-the-way, but the scenery is well worth it. I was driving well Matt was looking at the map, to all of a sudden tell me that a bit further up the highway ends. I asked “what do you mean it just ends?”, he responded with “I don’t know, the map just shows it ending”. Well not knowing what would happen we continued on and much to our surprise at the end of the highway (Adolphustown, Ontario), we came upon a ferry. Our timing was perfect, having only to wait about five minutes when the ferry started to load.

Driving onto the M.V. Quinte Loyalist Ferry

Driving onto the M.V. Quinte Loyalist Ferry.

Matt and I on ferry

Matt and I on ferry, with another ferry passing behind us.

The ferry ride was only about fifteen minutes, giving us just enough time to get out of the van, walk around and take a few pictures before getting back in and landing in Glenora, Ontario.

Pulling into Glenora, Ontario

Pulling into Glenora, Ontario.

After Glenora, we drove into Picton, Ontario a lovely little town. The only sad part was we were starving, and the two restaurants we stopped at, were only excepting people who had made reservations. We ended up stopping at a mom & pop restaurant, and though the staff was very nice, the food, well it filled our stomachs, but it was nothing to write home about. By this time we were very tired from all the driving, and have followed the rest of the scenic route home on other occasions, that we found it was now time to get back on the 401 and just get home. All in all, it took us about eleven and a half hours.

Luckily Sunday was a day of rest, well, almost, there was laundry to do, before we would drive middle child to college on the Monday. We had forgotten that Monday was a holiday, and grocery stores would be closed. Middle child would need food for her new place, a house she is sharing with four other students. Off to the grocery store she went with her dad, I refused to get in the van again.

Monday morning arrived, the van was repacked, again, stuffed even more than what the young man had fit into it. We were happy though, because this drive would only take about two and a half to three hours, most of it on secondary highways, so there wouldn’t be a lot of traffic.  We arrived in Lindsay, Ontario a few hours later, again I was management, thus in charge of opening and closing the door while middle child and her dad moved her belongings into her new room. Middle child decided not to bring her queen size bed, instead our futon would be her bed for the next ten months. Yet, no matter how many times they maneuvered the frame there was no way it would fit around the corner to her room. Her dad offered to take the frame apart, thankfully middle child said “no dad, it’s okay, I will just use the mattress and sleep on the floor”. The frame went back into the van, plus a few other boxes full of kitchen things she wouldn’t be needing. Nothing like packing stuff up, stuffing it into the van, and having your daughter realize she wouldn’t be needing these three or four large boxes of things.

Once again we said our goodbye’s and I love you’s and took off. We did take a slightly different route home, but unlike the trip from Quebec, this rounded out to be the same amount of time and boy were we happy to arrive home in the daylight. I had booked the next day off work for hubby, which was great, because we needed to get back in the van again, and do our own grocery shopping. All in all in the course of four days, we put just over 2000 kilometres on the van. In case you are wondering, yes our butts were quite sore. Me, well my body has given me loads of grief from all the driving, and then I started doing winter canning the past couple of weekends, thus the reason it has been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. Please accept my apologies.

What constitutes a bad teacher? Should he/she be fired?

For years I volunteered up to or more than three times a week in my children’s elementary school. I volunteered in each child’s class so I would be aware of what they were being taught since they attended a French Immersion school.

When the eldest was in kindergarten, her teacher noted she had problems pronouncing certain letters of the alphabet and would benefit from speech therapy. We were to close so we didn’t notice the problem; the eldest was given speech therapy while in school. Middle child did not pick up the speech impediment, but the teenage boy did and by that time, the waiting list for speech therapy was well over a year-long. We were lucky that I was working part-time so my income went to pay for a private speech therapist. Middle child was having other difficulties which we blamed on learning two languages so she was given extra help in the Learning Resource centre.

By the time Middle child was in grade six, she was still going to the Learning Resource centre for assistance, but now there were other problems. She was coming home from school and telling us that her teacher was not giving her any work to complete, so all she was doing in the resource room was helping in the younger kids with their work. Writing this part just makes me cry, even though it has been years since it occurred. I met with her teacher, who denied this and said my child was lying, but middle child continued to complain about not be given any work and now she was hating going to school.

Since I volunteered at the school in both the classroom and was an active Parent Council member, I was on very good terms with the Principal. I discussed this matter with her and it was decided a meeting with the teacher, the learning resource teacher, and a board representative was necessary. During the meeting I continually asked the teacher what work she was giving middle child and was it true, that in fact she was not giving her any assignments at all? (Not a peep was heard from the Learning Resource teacher during this time). The Principal asked the teacher to produce the assignments she was supposedly giving middle child. It was then that the teacher admitted, “No, I haven’t been giving her any assignments to do in the Learning Resource Centre”. Assignments middle child needed if she wanted to be graded on and receive a mark on her report card. There were no marks to be had though. At this point, the Principal immediately stood up, and ended the meeting. I had won a first of many battles for middle child!

Result: middle child was sent home with umpteen number of assignments to complete, but as far as I know, there was no punishment given to the teacher and since she was the only grade six teacher, middle child remained in her class. After grade six, we pulled middle child out of French Immersion and enrolled her in an English school. Her grade seven teacher was beyond marvelous! We met with him, explaining the issues and how we were putting her in an out of school program to bring her up to grade level (she was two levels behind). Middle child hated reading and writing. Again, it was lucky I worked part-time, because when we enrolled her in a private program to bring her reading up to grade level, it literally cost a fortune. She hated going, but once she got there, the teachers were fabulous at making reading fun, teaching her how to correctly pronounce words, spell and write stories. It took over six months, but the extra work paid off, middle child was reading and writing at a grade level above her class and now enjoyed the work.

(Note: Middle child had been on the waiting list for years for a reading and writing assessment through the school board. It wasn’t until grade ten, that we borrowed money to have an assessment done, since the assessment through the school board wasn’t going to happen for a very long time. The assessment was necessary for her to continue to receive extra help through the high school and it would also be necessary for when she applied to University. The private assessment, by a licensed Psychologist, was pages and pages long, outlined her learning disabilities, one being dyslexia.) No wonder she hated reading and writing!

Questions still remain:

Why wasn’t the teacher disciplined or if she/he was, why wasn’t I, the parent informed?
Why wasn’t this teacher fired for incompetence?
Why didn’t the Learning Resource teacher ask why student wasn’t being given work to do?
Why are assessments for Learning Disability such a low priority in our Education System?

There are good teachers and there are bad teachers, just like in any profession, good and bad employees. Rarely do you hear of a teacher being fired for incompetence and I believe in some circumstances, they should be, just like in any other job, incompetence should not be tolerated. Retraining, I agree with this, but in the case I have described where the teacher just didn’t bother to give middle child assignments, the teacher should have been fired. How many other students has this happened to and will happen to?