No Single Brush

Once again, the Parent Imperfect has let work overwhelm the blogging life. Who’s setting these priorities?

Irving at FenwaySome readers, including Dear Connie, protested that the Hamlet story was too one-sided in its portrayal of the Irving. I thought the story spoke quite positively about some aspects of the school, but it is true that it is not a tale that is likely to make the parents of a fifth-grader want to claw their way onto the waiting list for next year’s sixth grade at the school.

There have been many bright spots for Connie at the Irving. She has been able to stay in contact with friends from the Hennigan who have moved with her for sixth grade. She has also made some new friends, including for the first time, a school friend who lives on our street in Roslindale. This has been very nice.

kids yogaWhen Connie and one of those friends got excited about, of all things, yoga and meditation (if you knew the father, you’d understand the “of all things” comment) they proposed to the school that they be allowed to teach a class to their mates on the topic. To our surprise, “Philosophidation” was born, students signed up, and the two have been teaching this class with little adult interference since January (I believe that they are now in the third cycle of the class). There have been many bumps in the road to enlightenment, but they have so far managed those bumps. Not every middle school principal would allow such a thing to happen in his/her school.

Connie has also had a very good year in English Language Arts, which is not her strongest suit. After getting Connie quite absorbed in China’s Cultural Revolution, the teacher helped re-kindle an interest in poetry that had been dormant since about third grade.

Connie has actually been quite ill with a stomach bug since her father returned from recent travels. This one found its way to paper as a sign that she is on the mend (in more ways than one)…


I am sick.

No matter how you say it.

I feel like throwing up,

and my foods won’t even stay in.

I’ve been in bed all day

really, really weak.

I can’t go out to play,

and my hair is sure not sleek.

Drinkin’ Gatorade

and usin’ the computer.

I have no other way

except to hire a steward.

Although I’m feeling better,

I still can’t go to school.

I’m sad my stomach’s empty.

Being sick is SO NOT COOL!

No single brush can paint Connie’s experience at the Irving. The teacher who closed the door on Hamlet is a real person, but dealing with difficult people is, sadly, an important life skill. Ironically, something happened and it looks as though the show will go on, on June 1 at the Roslindale Community Center. Given the strange incentives of the BPS, Connie is likely to be “one and done” at the Irving, but she may well remember the experience much more positively than the peanut gallery does.



Filed under Advanced Work

4 responses to “No Single Brush

  1. Please let Ms. Connie know:
    A) I love her poem (and she is right, totally NOT COOL)
    B) Can’t wait to see her performance on June 1st, and
    C) Would really like to hear more about the class she is teaching to see if we can incorporate it into future Irving offerings! 🙂

  2. Thanks, Karen. She’ll know what you say automatically because she reads this to keep the PI honest and demand the censorship of anything she doesn’t like. The Social Studies teacher has been the silent consultant to the class, so he knows all about it.

  3. Kathy

    How great that she and her friend taught yoga and meditation! A good thing for anyone to learn. My boy’s year at Irving was a mixed bag too. Wonderful ELA teacher, not good math teacher. He played on the soccer team and met a group of kids he wouldn’t have known otherwise.

    • I missed this when it first came in, Kathy. Connie has also met some kids that she wouldn’t have met, otherwise, but I have to say that her commitment to connecting to these kids was very different than it was in the Hernández, where she spent five years. On her first day of school this September, she’ll be starting at her fourth school in four years. This has definitely affected her ability to connect.

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